MIDLANDS pub company Marston's is targeting Scottish women with an opening programme it hopes will break up Scotland's male-dominated pubs culture.
The company reported a 4.5 per cent rise in underlying revenue to £374.3 million for the 26 weeks to April 5 with underlying pre-tax profit up 9.4 per cent to £29m.
Much of Marston's growth has come through the expansion of its estate of pub-restaurants, with its 100th outlet due to open shortly in Dumfries.
Marston's strategy focuses on attracting older consumers and women, who the firm determines as the key decision makers behind spending in many households.
Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: "Typically in many places, if you go outside Edinburgh and Glasgow it is fairly male dominated drink pubs." He said there has been "real demand" for the firm's family-friendly outlets.
Marston's opened its first pub in Scotland, the Pine Marten in Dunbar. It has since added three more - in Braehead, Forfar and Danderhall in Midlothian -and is scheduled to add a further six over the next 12 months.
Marston's expects to open around 27 new sites across the UK this year.
Despite the focus on food, Marston's said that sales at so-called wet-led pubs were starting to rebound, eased by the entry of BT into sports broadcasting with pub subscriptions from the telecoms giant priced at around a quarter of a Sky deal it said can reach upwards of £15,000 a year. This has helped bring people back to outlets hit hard by the smoking ban.
Finance director Andrew Andreas said: "We are taking share back from the home."