- Pub company Marston's swung to a first-half loss after the Covid-19 crisis took a big chunk out sales in the latter part of the reporting period.

Pre-tax losses for the six months through 28 March amounted to £33.2m, compared to a profit of £16.3m on-year.

Revenue fell 7.7% to £510.5m.

Marsten's said its revenues were trading in line with the previous until the Covid-19 crisis hit, wiping out an estimated £40m of sales.

The company said it planned to reopen its pubs from 4 July, in line with government rules, though initial revenue and earnings profiles were uncertain.

'The challenges facing the sector should not be underestimated and much rests on consumer confidence which may take time to rebuild,' chief executive Ralph Findlay said.

'As the industry navigates its way out of lockdown, we will continue to urge government for continued support for pubs and wider hospitality ... through business rates relief and cuts to VAT.'

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