Pub group cheered by profits rise

Have your say

LONDON Pride brewer and pubs operator Fuller, Smith & Turner reported an eight per cent rise in first-half profit, helped by a hot summer spell, and said strong sales growth had continued since.

The group, which has almost 400 London and South-East-based pubs, said adjusted pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks to September 28 rose to £18.1m, in line with expectations.

“We remain confident of another year of progress for the group,” chief executive Simon Emeny said, adding that he saw consumer morale picking up.

“GDP is growing, unemployment is coming down and certainly we see consumers feeling far more optimistic about things going forwards, and I think that encourages people to enjoy themselves a bit more.”

He acknowledged that financially households still remained no better off than last year.

The profit rise was underpinned by a 7.9 per cent like-for-like sales rise in its managed pubs and hotel division, which makes up half of group profit, with higher-margin food sales and drinks and accommodation revenue all performing strongly.

Fuller’s said that performance had continued into the first seven weeks of the second half, with underlying sales up 7.8 per cent for the first 33 weeks of the year.

The hot summer weather did push first-half beer and cider volumes down one per cent in its brewing division as drinkers chose lager over ale.

Underlying profit in Fuller’s tenanted division, where the firm has been investing in property repairs, grew by one per cent.

On Thursday, rival pub firm Young’s posted a 19 per cent rise in first-half profit.