* Expects consumer backdrop to remain weak in 2012
* Like-for-like sales for 23-week period 3.5 pct ahead of last year
* Says profitability is in-line-with its expectations
March 14 - British pubs and breweries operator Marston's Plc said profit during the first half of fiscal 2012 remained in line with its expectations as cost conscious consumers sought value deals.
The company, which expects consumer sentiment to remain weak in 2012, said business would likely pick up in June during the football tournament, Euro 2012, and the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Queen's coronation.
Sales at its managed pubs open more than a year rose 3.5 percent in the 23-week period to March 10. The company owns about 2,150 outlets, including tenanted and franchised pubs.
Sales during the period were broadly flat as strong volumes reported during the Christmas and New Year were offset by heavy snowfall last month that kept Britons from dining and drinking at pubs.
Food sales grew 3.9 percent, while drink sales grew 3.4 percent, said the Wolverhampton, West Midlands-based company.
Underlying profit from its tenanted and franchised pubs division was estimated to be 3 percent higher.
Marston's, whose rivals include Mitchells & Butlers, Greene King and JD Wetherspoon, said sales of its own-brewed beer, which includes Pedigree and Hobgoblin beer, were up 2 percent.