With its preliminary results, released in November, Marston’s said its new financial year had begun well with pub sales higher in the first seven weeks. No new pub openings were planned for 2020 as part of its strategy to cut debts and rein in its capital growth spending.
“Our principal focus remains to reduce our net debt by £200mln by 2023 – or earlier – and the measures we are taking now will result in a high-quality business which is cash generative after dividends and capital expenditure,” said chief executive Ralph Findlay in the results statement.
Investors will also look for any news on asset disposals, following the sale of 137 of its pubs for £45mln late last year.
Flash PMIs due too
The market will also keep an eye out for UK flash PMIs on Friday after Tuesday’s labour market data suggested that things are not getting any worse for the UK economy and may have even started to turn around.
Friday’s dataset could be “crucial” in confirming or refuting a bounce in the economy, according to analysts.
“If the pick-up in sentiment is confirmed in the flash PMIs… then it could be enough to convince the Monetary Policy Committee that the economy has turned a corner and that it does not need to cut rates from 0.75% at its meeting on 30th January,” said Thomas Pugh from Capital Economics.
Significant announcements expected on Friday January 24:
Trading announcements: Marston’s PLC (LON:MARS)
Economic data: UK flash PMIs