Fuller’s holds its own but admits it is facing a more challenging environment

The Queen's Head, Kingston

Fuller, Smith & Turner said yesterday that it was facing a more “challenging” environment but had made a solid start to the year after updating the market on its financial performance for the 16 weeks to 16 July.

Like-for-like sales in Managed Pubs and Hotels rose 2.1% for the period, while like-for-like profits in the Tenanted Division were down by 2%.

Since the year end, the company has purchased The Gun, a riverside pub on the edge of Canary Wharf with views across to the O2 Arena, which is well-known for its fresh food offering. It has also opened the first London site for The Stable in Whitechapel, with a second on Kew Bridge due to open before the end of July.

A number of transformational refurbishments have been carried out in the last 16 weeks including The Harpenden Arms in Harpenden, The Drayton Court in West Ealing and The Queen’s Head in Kingston, one of two transfers from Tenanted to Managed, which has been refurbished with the addition of 10 bedrooms.

In addition, the virtual freehold of The Butcher’s Hook & Cleaver, the Company’s existing and highly successful pub in London’s Smithfield, has been acquired.

Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, commented: “We have seen solid growth in our Managed Pubs business during the first part of the new financial year against tough comparatives from last year and despite some unseasonably poor summer weather and an uncertain economic and political environment.

“Fuller’s has always focused on building a business with genuine longevity and this ability to take a long-term view during short-term external pressures stands us in good stead. We have exciting plans in place and will continue to invest in our people, our premium brands and our pub estate.”

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