Enterprise Inns said the rate of pub closures in the UK was slowing across its estate as fewer tenants were requiring financial support.

The UK pub operator said today (29 September) that there had been no material change in its trading performance since July. 

Speaking ahead of its preliminary results for the year ended 30 September, the group said its core estate is showing "resilience in challenging trading conditions", although it said profitability remains affected by ongoing costs of providing discretionary financial support to licensees, business failures and management agreements.

"It is encouraging that, thanks to our successful programme of disposing of less viable pubs, together with some stabilisation in beer volumes, reports of improving food sales and an abatement of cost pressures on licensees, we are beginning to see the rate of business failures slowing and the requirements for financial support under our Business Recovery Initiative reducing," the company said.

During the year, Enterprise said it has successfully disposed of 365 pubs, all but a handful being poorer quality outlets, which it did not consider to have a viable future in the estate.

The company said it expects to continue the disposal programme throughout the coming year.

Earlier this year, Enterprise Inns posted a drop in first-half profits as the company paid one-off charges linked to a drop in property prices.

For the six months to 31 March, pre-tax profits dropped to GBP9m (US$14.3m) from GBP122m the previous year.