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Fuller, Smith and Turner enjoys festive cheer

Cask ale brewer, hotel and pubs group Fuller, Smith and Turner said it traded well over the key Christmas period and, while it remains mindful of the uncertain economic outlook for 2013, it is confident in future trading.

Cask ale brewer, hotel and pubs group Fuller, Smith and Turner said it traded well over the key Christmas period and, while it remains mindful of the uncertain economic outlook for 2013, it is confident in future trading.

In the nine weeks to January 19 2013, like for like (LFL) sales in Managed Pubs and Hotels rose 4.5%, bringing the like for like sales growth for the 42 weeks to 2.6% from 2.1% after 33 weeks.

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Like for like profits at the Tenanted Inns division increased 1% for the 42 weeks, after being level after 33 weeks. Total beer volumes in the Fuller's Beer Company remained level, unchanged from 33 weeks.

Fuller's, which completed the acquisition of two managed pubs in Bath at the start of November for £7.5m, said its balance sheet and cash generation remain strong.

Net debt reduced to £136.1m on December 29th 2012, from £137.3m at the half year.

"Fuller's once again enjoyed a good Christmas, with many managed pubs having record weeks. Our strategy to invest consistently in our pubs and emphasis on freshly cooked food has driven growth, with our mobile and tablet-friendly website contributing to the increase in covers," the group said in a company update.

Chairman Michael Turner added: "UK consumers enjoyed themselves in our pubs and hotels over the festive period."

"Whilst the economic outlook for 2013 remains uncertain, our long term strategy and focus on quality continue to serve us well and the strong performance of our acquisitions and refurbishments give us confidence to keep on investing for the future."

CJ

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