Sales at SFI are up and the company is optimistic about hitting its 25% profit growth target. The 19 weeks ended 13th October saw like-for-like sales up 6%, while total sales were up 44%.

The company claims to not have seen any adverse effects from the economic downturn or the terrorist attacks in the US. Sales should continue to rise as pleasure-seeking, young Brits continue to spend more on alcohol.

At UK pub group SFI's annual general meeting on Wednesday, Tony Hill, chairman gave a positive outlook for the group's progress. Sales in the 19 weeks ended 13th October were up 44% across compared to last year. Like-for-like sales grew by 6%, despite the current uncertainties.

"Trading has been buoyant and is not showing the adverse effects of an economic downturn," reassured Hill. "Since September 11, there has been no fall off in total sales and instead we have experienced an increasing trend in sales overall." The message wasn't entirely positive. Trading in London's West End has fallen considerably, but the positive results in the rest of the country have more than made up for it.

The company was particularly optimistic about the progress of two of its core brands, the Litten Tree and Bar Med. SFI is continuing to standardize the Bar Med operations. Eight of its smaller outlets have failed to meet its brand template and will either be sold or rebranded. Future Bar Meds will only be developed in large locations, which allow for a higher ROI.

SFI was less positive about its other core brand, the more traditional Slug and Lettuce. A fairly recent addition to the fold, bought in July last year, it has failed to make any particularly impressive progress. Its comparable sales were up 3%. However, SFI has developed a more up-to-date format for the chain and is now beginning to roll it out across the country.

It has been a couple of years since SFI turned its attentions away from the traditional pub format, focusing instead on bringing young, trendy crowds to its high street bars. Fortunately for it, the tactic is still paying off. Young adults in the UK are continuing to spend more money on alcohol, both through higher consumption and a growing willingness to pay premium prices. With this trend expected to continue over the next few years, SFI is putting itself in the ideal position to reap the benefits.

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