Maclay raises glass to latest increase to sales at pubs

MACLAY Inns has cast aside the industry gloom and freezing weather to record a rise in festive sales driven by stronger food income.

The Alloa-based bar and restaurant operator will also push ahead with plans to acquire five further pubs across Scotland in 2010.

Maclay, which currently has 26 bars, restaurants and inns throughout the central belt, yesterday said like-for-like sales had risen 4 per cent in the four weeks to 9 January, compared with the year before.

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Food sales were up by 8 per cent with accommodation bookings also strong "despite the tough financial climate and extreme weather conditions".

Steve Mallon, managing director of Maclay Inns, said: "We took the decision at the turn of 2008 to focus our strategy on improving our existing offering through extensive staff training and refurbishing our key premises – the move has paid off.

"We are in a strong position for 2010 with plans to strengthen our portfolio with the acquisition of five new pubs."

Following the appointment of Michael Denny as a non-executive director, the company is raising new investment funds through sister company, Thistle Pub Company II, allowing Maclay to forge ahead with its expansion plans.

The firm, which can trace its roots back to 1830, said its strategy of expanding outside of city centres had proved beneficial, with many competitors facing lower takings as public transport ground to a halt during the big freeze.