MARSTON’S has declared its pubs in Scotland and Wales were “more significantly impacted” than their counterparts in England because of "tighter restrictions" brought in to combat the Omicron variant at Christmas.

The Midlands-based brewer and pub operator cited the impact of the Omicron variant and its effect on consumer sentiment as it reported that total sales were 3.9 per cent down in the 16 weeks to January 12, compared with the same period two years previously.

Marston's said government messaging, including guidance to work from home and calls to limit socialising, saw like-for-like sales tumble by 8.8% in the eight weeks to January 12.

However, chief executive Andrew Andrea expressed confidence that the “strong trading momentum” built up by the company before the Omicron outbreak would “resume”.

Restrictions introduced in Scotland on December 27, including mandatory table service and one-metre social distancing in pubs, were eased on Monday. Nightclubs have also reopened north of the Border.

Mr Andrea, who succeeded Scot Ralph Findlay as chief executive in October, said: “Whilst the emergence of the Omicron variant and subsequent Government guidance temporarily impacted consumer sentiment, we remain confident that the strong trading momentum which we were experiencing prior to that will resume.

"We welcome the various plans underway to gradually ease trading restrictions in Scotland and Wales.”