Fuller's profits soar from traditional ales and pubs

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Fuller's is continuing to drive up profits by investing in modern hotels and bars alongside traditional pubs and real ale.Volumes of its beers, such...

Fuller's is continuing to drive up profits by investing in modern hotels and bars alongside traditional pubs and real ale.

Volumes of its beers, such as London Pride, in the on-trade rose in the year to March 31 in a market where ales in pubs are on a downward trend.

The London brewer has also grown the size of its tenanted estate to 112, pushing up like-for-like sales in the more mature parts of the estate by four per cent.

At the same time, Fuller's continues to invest in stylish modern bars. It is about to open its third bar-restaurant branded as One of Two and is "actively looking" for new sites for its Fine Line concept.

With £24m being spent on developing three new upmarket hotels in 2001, the family brewer has also revealed details of a £5m plan to develop a 52-room unit near Heathrow Airport.

Today (June 1), Fuller's unveiled a 41 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to £19.3m for the year to the end of March, with turnover for its continuing businesses up eight per cent to £128.1m.

Chairman Anthony Fuller (pictured)​ said: "The strength of our brands, increasing market share and capital investment programme in the retail estate and brewery continue to yield benefits for staff, customers and shareholders alike."

Annual barrelage was up seven per cent, pushing up Fuller's Beer Company's profits by 16 per cent and sales by six per cent. Free on-trade volumes were up by six per cent to 105,000 barrels and the off-trade soared by 27 per cent, although sales of its beers in its tied estate were flat.

Mr Fuller said: "Fuller's Beer Company has yet again outperformed its rivals and, in what is a declining market for ales elsewhere, has shown both volume and profits growth.

"We intend to continue to invest in our brands which, led by London Pride, are stronger than ever before. This has resulted in our total beer volume reaching a quarter of a million barrels for the first time and a further increase in Fuller's ale market share."

Annual turnover within its retail estate was up nine per cent to £92.6m, after the opening of four traditional pubs and three bars, including Katabatic, a late-night bar in Shoreditch on the edge of the City.

Fuller's now has seven late licences but is applying for another 10 to extend hours to midnight or 1am.

However, the 117-strong managed estate suffered disappointing food sales last summer because of poor weather, which caused like-for-like sales to fall by one per cent.

Speaking to City analysts and journalists today, Mr Fuller also highlighted the company's success in winning the title of Managed Pub Company of the Year in the Publican Awards 2001​.

"The panel of judges' comments reflected Fuller's own philosophy of 'quality, service and pride' admirably," Mr Fuller said.

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