Suffolk brewer Greene King has reported a 2 per cent rise in profits over the past year despite the "challenging conditions" facing the pub industry.
A 31 per cent rise in food sales, boosted by the brewer`s purchase of Loch Fyne Restaurants in August last year, helped off-set the negative effects of the smoking ban on the business, Chief Executive Rooney Anand said today.
The brewer has opened five new Loch Fyne sites since acquiring the company, bringing the number up to 41. Food sales at both Loch Fyne and at the brewer`s pubs now account for half of all the company`s retail sales.
"Food remains our top priority for sales growth. We have learned much from Loch Fyne on development planning, kitchen design, customer profiling and direct marketing," said Anand.
For the 53 weeks ending May 4, Greene King`s revenue rose 5 per cent to £960.5m. Operating profit went up 8 per cent to £236.2m and profit before tax is up 2 per cent at £142m.
Anand said: “The year saw an unprecedented set of challenges for the industry but I am pleased to report exceptional performance across the business.
"The economy is not likely to improve in the short term, and we are not immune to the difficulties this presents for our market, but we are better placed than many others, thanks to the resilience and flexibility of our business and our team.”