The largest regional brewer in the UK, Wolverhampton & Dudley, reported profits before tax and exceptionals for the 52 weeks to September 28 of £74.0m, down 3% from £76.1m last year. Analysts' forecasts had ranged from £73m to £74.6m.

The company, which produces the Banks's and Pedigree beer brands, also said that trading in its 1,630 pubs had deteriorated in October and November. It said like-for-like sales in its 488 Pathfinder pubs had fallen by 0.5% over the past two months.

"Current trading is subdued, but we are in mainly value for money community pubs rather than premium priced high street outlets, and so we are more resilient than most in the industry," said CEO Ralph Findlay. "I think consumer confidence is weaker than it was and we would not expect it to turn around quickly."
In spite of the profit fall and recent slow sales, analysts greeted the W&D results enthusiastically as a resilient performance ahead of the pub sector.