Sunny weather, strong beer sales and a good performance from its tenanted and food-led managed pubs helped boost annual profits and sales at brewer and pub operator Fuller Smith & Turner.
In the year to 27 March 2004, the group increased pre-tax profit by 13% from £17m to £19.2m on turnover that grew by 2% from £137.6m to £140.3m.
The strongest performance was seen in the beer division, which boosted profits by 14% to £7.8m and turnover by 4% to £65.5m.
More mixed results at Fuller's Inns resulted in a static turnover of £97m and a slight fall in profits to £15.3m from £16m.
Although tenanted and food-led managed pubs did well, hotels and bars faced tough market conditions.
But chairman Anthony Fuller saw signs of an emergence from the trading downturn in London. Meanwhile, improved performance in hotels over the last quarter had carried over to the new financial year.
The company's eight hotels increased average room rate from £67.81 to £68.97, despite a 6% fall in occupancy and a 5% drop in revenue per available room (revpar). This still marked a big improvement on the first half, when occupancy and revpar both slumped by 10%.
The estate of 116 managed pubs and bars saw a 2% fall in like-for-like sales stemming largely from a 5% decline in city sites. A focus on freshly-prepared food in acquisitions, investment and training saw food turnover climb by 11%.
The 114 tenanted inns had a good year, increasing profits by 5% and turnover by 2%. Average turnover and profit per pub grew by 5% and 8% respectively.
During the year, Fuller's sold the Pilgrims' Rest hotel in Ashford, Kent, for £2.2m, and reinvested the money in a new 55-bedroom hotel at Red Lion which opened in Hillingdon, West London, last week
In December, it gave Tesco Stores the option to buy the site of its 105-bedroom Master Brewer hotel in Hillingdon for £18.5m by December 2006.
by Angela Frewin
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