London Pride helps cheer sales at Fuller pubs group

Fuller, Smith & Turner, the pubs group with a major presence in the City, has heralded an upsurge in drinking activity in London's financial district.

Fuller, Smith & Turner, the pubs group with a major presence in the City, has heralded an upsurge in drinking activity in London's financial district.

Following two years of "double-digit" sales shrinkage in the City - which Fuller counts as running from Holborn to Canary Wharf - the company has seen a rebound. For the six months to the end of September, City trading grew 3 per cent, on a like-for-like basis, and since that time the rate of growth has picked up, Fuller said.

Michael Turner, the chief executive, said: "It is significant because the City has been through quite a tough time. This bodes well for the future. It won't happen overnight. We see steady growth now."

The company has 23 pubs or bars in the financial district, including branches of its Fine Line chain. Mr Turner said this makes it the leading drinking venue owner in the area, providing a bellwether for the health of the City. He added thatthe upturn in City business was not a case of people "drowning their sorrows".

"We have been through all that, redundancy parties and the like. Now people are confident and happier to be seen in the pub," he said.

The group, which makes traditional beer and owns hotels, as well as having 231 pubs across the country, reported pre-tax profits up 7 per cent at £8.7m. The underlying profit increase was 2 per cent. Turnover also edged up 2 per cent at £73.0m.

Mr Turner said the drinking trend was away from alcopops - the likes of Barcardi Breezer and Smirnoff Ice - in favour of wine and soft drinks. He said: "Pre-packaged spirits have had their day. Wine is doing well. Cask ale is doing very well."

The company has refurbished its eight-strong Fine Line bar chain and is now concentrating on its Ale & Pie houses.

Fuller's Beer Company business and Tenanted Inns continued to perform well, while the improvement at its eight hotels seen kicking in earlier this year had continued, it said.

The company added: "However, profits have been held back significantly in managed pubs and bars by a combination of higher planned refurbishment costs and disappointing summer weather compared with last year."

Mr Turner said that Britons were rediscovering a taste for cask (or real) ale and were moving away from lager. Fuller's London Pride is now the biggest-selling premium ale in the country, he added.

"People want real flavour. They are tired of things that don't taste of anything," Mr Turner said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Stockbroker

£Basic (OTE) + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Stockbroker (qualified / p...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence