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01-Feb-2008: Interim Management Statement

43 week trading period to 26 January 2008


The Board of Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C. ('Fuller's' or 'the Company') today made the following Interim Management Statement in connection with the 43 week trading period to 26 January 2008.

Following a record first half, trading conditions are now less favourable. Growth in Fuller's Inns, the managed and tenanted pubs and hotel business, has slowed, with invested like for like sales for the managed pubs for the 43 weeks to 26 January up 4.0%. Tenanted revenues are up 4.4% over the same period and the hotel division continues to perform strongly. The Fuller's Beer Company continues to show strong performance with total beer volumes up 2% in the 43 weeks to 26 January.

The Company's cash generation and balance sheet remain strong. With a scarcity of suitable investment opportunities, the Company has returned £3.5m of cash to shareholders in the financial year to date in the form of share buy-backs. In addition, management has continued to rationalise the property portfolio and, since the half year, three tenanted pubs and three unlicensed properties have been sold for £6m, recording a net gain of £4.7m.

The trading environment for the remainder of the financial year is likely to continue to be challenging. Cost pressures on raw materials in the Beer Company and food and utilities in our managed estate are the highest they have been for some time. However, the overall strength of the Company's business gives the Board cause to remain confident that profit before tax for the year will be within the range of market expectations.


Michael Turner, Chairman commented as follows:

'Since the half year, the slowdown in consumer spending and input price inflation on top of the smoking ban have made operating conditions more challenging. I am therefore very pleased with the way the Company has performed in such a climate. Continued good growth in beer sales volumes, particularly Fuller's own brands, illustrates the strength of and customer demand for our products. Our managed estate is proving resilient due to its high quality and historic investment levels. Our collaborative approach with our tenants is now being shown to its full advantage and our hotels continue to perform strongly.

These, together with our strong balance sheet, modest levels of debt, predominantly freehold asset base and high cash generation, make me believe we are well positioned in what is, at least for the moment, a challenging market.'

The next report will be on 6 June when the Company issues its preliminary results for the 52 weeks to 29 March 2008.

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For further information, please contact:
Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C.
Press Office 020 8996 2175/2198/2048
Mobile: 07831 299 801/07748 657 854
pr@fullers.co.uk

Michael Turner: Press 020 8996 2048
James Douglas: Analysts 020 8996 2048

Merlin 020 7653 6620
Paul Downes 07900 244 888 (mobile)
Anja Kharlamova 07887 884 788 (mobile)

Copies of this statement, the annual report and other recent press releases are available on the Company's website www.fullers.co.uk

Enquiries:
Category: Interim Management Statement

This page was printed from the website of Fuller, Smith & Turner P.L.C at http://www.fullers.co.uk/