• Fuller's "defies" recession
  • Beer sales up 9%
  • Expects tougher H2

Fuller, Smith & Turner, the UK brewer and pub owner, has reported strong rises in half-year sales and profits, but warned of tougher trading ahead in the second six months of its fiscal year.

Net sales for the six months to 26 September rose by around 10% to GBP116.9m (US$194.7m), compared to GBP106.4m in the same period of 2008, Fuller's said today (20 November).

Net profits also rose, to GBP10.7m from GBP7.3m, as the group claimed to have "defied" the recession in the UK.

Beer sales, which include London Pride ale, matched company performance with value sales rising 9% to GBP49.4m for the six months. Operating profits rose by 15% to GBP3.9m.

"The increased profits were driven by total beer volume growth of 2% at good margins without a corresponding growth in operating costs, which were held approximately level as a result of lower marketing costs, a pay freeze and the benefit of the restructuring made at the end of last year," said the London-based firm.

Own-brewed volume sales rose by 3% to 109,500 barrels, against a UK beer market that has declined in mid to high single digits this year.

However, Fuller's said it was cautious on its second half-year and expects it to be "significantly tougher than the first".

It said: "Our first half performance has defied the recession but it has been boosted by factors that may not repeat or may even reverse: incremental earnings from acquisitions, record low interest rates, a pay freeze and better weather."

For the full announcement, click here.