Kent brewer Shepherd Neame has reported what it describes as record turnover for the year to June 26, 2010, boosted by what it called a well-invested and well-financed operation.
The brewer, which produces its own cask ales including Spitfire as well as lagers under licence including Asahi and Oranjeboom and operates 365 pubs, said it had turned in an "encouraging performance", with turnover up 5.4 per cent to £115.4m.
Operating profits before exceptionals rose 25 per cent to £11.9m and pre-tax profits also rose by a quarter, to £8.7m.
The group's tenanted estate saw overall revenues up 1.8 per cent, although like-for-like earnings per pub fell 3.8 per cent.
Sheps' managed pubs saw total like-for-like sales up 2.8 per cent. Stripping out newly-bought pubs, like-for-like sales rose 0.7 per cent. Food sales in the managed pub division rose 3.9 per cent.
The brewer's total beer volumes rose by nearly five per cent driven, it said, largely by off-sales, as well as 6.2 per cent of growth in local free trade sales. Sheps' own tied trade volumes fell 1.3 per cent.
On current trading, Jonathan Neame, Sheps' chief executive, said the group had enjoyed an encouraging start to the new financial year. "Beer volume has continued to grow and in the nine weeks to August 28, 2010, same outlet like-for-like retail sales are up 4.4 per cent. Costs remain tightly controlled, capital expenditure is low and cash flow is strong," he said.
He added that the group had attained higher standards of operational excellence in its beer business and higher standards of customer service across its pubs.
But Neame sounded a warning about the immediate future: "Whilst we are pleased with the performance this year, we are very aware of the fragility of the economy, the inflationary pressures from commodity prices and the inevitable impact of tax increases on consumer spending in 2011.
"This in turn will put pressure on us to drive ever greater quality of product and service and to optimise our business performance."