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W&D to put food before fags

02 December 2005

Pub operator and brewer Wolverhampton & Dudley expects smoking to be completely banned in pubs in the future and is planning to put food before fags in its venues.

In its annual results, the group said it believed pubs in good locations with a good food offer would suffer little impact from the smoking ban.

It also expects pubs with outside areas to become more attractive.

W&D's underlying pre-tax profit was up by 16% to £90.1m in the year to 1 October. However, after accounting for goodwill and exceptional items, profits were down to £47.9m from £70.2m.

Turnover increased by 16.3% to £597.3m, from £513.7m in the previous year.

W&D increased turnover and profit across its managed and tenanted estate and its brewing division. However, trade has been weaker since the year end.

The group now has more than 2,000 pubs following the acquisition earlier this year of Burtonwood Breweries, Jennings Brothers and English Country Inns, which it says will generate annual cost savings of £8m.

The group refinanced itself in August through an £805m securitisation.

By Angela Frewin

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