Managed pub group Barracuda has predicted its Smith & Jones format could be expanded from 70 to more than 400 sites.
The ambitious forecast by chief executive Mark McQuater came as the company, which also runs the Varsity and Barracuda chains, published full-year results showing a 5.5% rise in profits on a 14% hike in sales.
For the year to 25 September, gross profit came in at £66.8m, on turnover of £94.4m.
The company opened 10 pubs during the financial year, and a further 10 up to 15 December, taking its estate to 155, of which Smith & Jones accounted for 70.
A further 30 sites were earmarked to be opened during 2005.
McQuater said the company had £20m to play with for expansion and was now targeting many more sites.
"We believe our Smith & Jones brand alone can be rolled out to over 400 locations throughout the UK. Additionally we are actively exploring further acquisition opportunities," he said.
Sales rose by 14% over Christmas and the New Year, with like-for-like pubs sales up by 2% on last year, despite the loss of two Saturdays because of the timing of public holidays.
The business as a whole would grow by about 20% during 2005, forecast McQuater.
by Nic Paton
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