LONDON Aug 22 British pubs and brewing company
Marston's plans to open a chain of hotels alongside its
growing pub-restaurant sites.
Marston's, which runs Pitcher and Piano pubs and brews ales
such as Pedigree and Hobgoblin, said as many as five of its 25
to 30 annual new pub openings could include a Marston's lodge.
"The market for accommodation with pubs seems very strong,"
Marston's Chief Executive Ralph Findlay told Reuters. "It's not
going to be a huge (part of group) but it will be meaningful."
The company already has some 800 rooms within its
1,800-strong pub estate. It says a string of self-managed lodges
could boost sales at adjacent new pub-restaurants by 3,000-4,000
pounds ($6,600) a week in addition to its own business.
It previously struck similar deals with British hotel
operator Travelodge but decided to explore building its own
offering when Travelodge's business hit difficulties.
Marston's has four lodges running and a total of up to 15
sites slated over three years. Findlay said the firm also has
excess land on existing pub sites where lodges could be built.
Its efforts would be focused outside of London.
Hotel prices will be similar to budget chain Premier Inn
, Britain's biggest hotel operator, which also runs
hotels alongside its pub restaurants, Findlay said in an
interview at one of Marston's London establishments.
The experiment is part of a wider repositioning at
Marston's, which is focusing all of its new pub openings on
managed, food-led, family-orientated outlets, selling off a
number of drink-led tenanted sites and converting others to a
more successful franchise model.
Like many of its rivals, Marston's food focus is borne out
of UK consumers' growing penchant for eating out at places with
value offers rather than at more expensive restaurants.
Those key managed pub-restaurants, which generate over four
times as much as profit as its taverns arm, will grow from
around 360 sites now to 430 by 2016, with disposals elsewhere
seeing the group's estate fall to 1,550 pubs.
Shares in Marston's, whose origins dates back to 1890, are
down 4.7 percent from a year ago at 149 pence, valuing the
business at 850 million pounds.
($1 = 0.6027 British Pounds)
(Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)