Belfast Telegraph

Pubs group Fuller's upbeat despite flat profits amid rising cost pressures

Fuller Smith & Turner has reported flat full-year profits and again flagged rising cost pressures facing the industry.

The pubs group said pre-tax profit in the year to April 1 came in at £39.9 million, up slightly on £39.2 million in 2016.

Revenue rose 12% to £392 million, with the firm seeing like-for-like sales at its managed pubs and hotels up 3.7%.

In the first nine weeks of the new financial year, Fuller's said like-for-like sales were up 6.6%.

Total beer and cider volumes were down 2% over the period.

Company boss Simon Emeny said: "There are a number of headwinds that will have a significant financial impact on both Fuller's and the industry as a whole, but we face the future in a strong position."

Impending cost pressures include a rise in business rates, the Apprenticeship Levy, the rising National Living Wage and "recruitment pressures" due to the UK's impending departure from the European Union.

However, Mr Emeny said the firm remains well placed to "delight our customers, recruit and develop the best team members and reward our shareholders".