TRADING at pub group Marston’s has rebounded above levels seen before the pandemic struck thanks to the full lifting of restrictions in the summer.

The firm said like-for-like sales in the quarter from July 25 to October 2 were two per cent higher than those seen in 2019 across its estate of around 1,500 pubs.

It added that it has seen some “small pockets” of disruption from the wider supply chain issues, but is “working closely with our suppliers to manage this”.

Marston’s pubs locally include the Anchor at Redbridge, the Cricketer’s Arms in Woolston and the One O Four and the Pitcher and Piano in Southampton.

The group said it is also managing “well” the more difficult recruitment market and cost inflation, with wages increased as expected in line with the national minimum wage and energy costs fixed for at least the next five months.

Chief executive Andrew Andrea, who took over from Ralph Findlay on October 3, said: “We are encouraged by the trading momentum which we have experienced since April and pleased to be trading robustly and above 2019 levels again.

“Our business benefits from an optimally balanced pub estate of food and wet-led pubs that are predominantly suburban, community-based and well located for the changes in consumer behaviour that we are seeing.

“However, we are mindful of consumer confidence in the short term and the challenges impacting the economy and our industry.”

Marston’s said it has benefited from having an estate largely comprising community sites across the UK, rather than London and city-centre pubs, which have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

It added that accommodation sales have been “excellent” due to a buoyant staycation market during overseas travel restrictions.

The group also said the Wales-focused Brains pub estate it bought earlier this year has traded better than expected since the easing of pandemic restrictions.