Brewery and pub owner Fuller, Smith and Turner reports rise in profits
Brewery and pub owner Fuller, Smith and Turner posted a jump in annual profits, but added that its beer and cider sales were falling.
The London Pride brewer said pre-tax profits lifted 17% to £33 million in the 12 months to March 26 compared to a year ago, boosted by a 4.8% growth in revenues at its managed pubs and hotels, the largest part of its business.
However, the group, which runs almost 400 managed and tenanted pubs and hotels in the South East, said beer and cider volumes were down by 1% over the last 12 months.
It added that in the first ten weeks of its new financial year beer and cider volumes were down 5%, with profits at tenanted pubs down 2%, although profits at its managed pubs and hotels were up by 2.7%. Shares fell by more than 2%.
The group said it grew sales of its craft beers and ciders such as Oliver's Island ale, Frontier lager and Cornish Orchards cider over the last year.
It added that it bought five new pubs over the past 12 months for a total of £11.1 million, including The Sail Loft, a newly built pub in Greenwich Reach.
The group added that during the year food sales - a key driver of revenue among pub companies - lifted by 6.9% at its 193 managed pubs and hotels.
Chief executive Simon Emeny said the group had made "a solid start to the year".
He added: "We have purchased pubs in geographical areas where we have previously lacked a presence, introduced new premium brands that the consumers of today and tomorrow are seeking out."
The firm is based at the historic Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, west London, which was founded in 1845, although brewing on that site dates back to 1654.