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Fullers' profits swell with Pride

ON THE back of a surge in popularity for London Pride, its flagship beer, Fuller Smith & Turner yesterday posted an 11 per cent jump in annual profits.

The London-based brewing and pubs group said its underlying profits had jumped to pounds 14.2m, in a year which included a poor summer and a weak Christmas season.

The success of London Pride, sales of which grew by 6 per cent, contrasted with a 13 per cent fall in sales of traditional cask ales throughout Britain's pubs.

Anthony Fuller, the group's chairman, said consumer confidence had returned to the pub sector in February and March after a slow summer. Drinkers flocked back to its pubs - which include the Fine Line and Broadwalk chains as well as traditional pubs - during the Easter and May Day bank holidays.

Like-for-like sales at Fuller's managed pubs stood still. The group said the minimum wage and working time directive would cost it pounds 0.5m. Fuller's shares closed up 17.5p at 547.5p.