Greene King 'ready' for smoking ban

03-07-2007

Greene King 'ready' for smoking ban
Pub chain and brewer Greene King (GK) says it is "well positioned" to cope with the introduction of England's smoking ban.

The Suffolk-based firm, which owns 1,417 pubs across the UK, revealed today its total operating profit rose by 14 per cent in the 52 weeks to April 29th.

GK chief executive Rooney Anand said these "record results" reflected "strong performances in all our divisions", adding that the company's £10 million spent on preparing for the smoking ban would not be wasted.

"Our unique experience across the whole of the Scottish pub and beer industry has stood us in good stead for the English smoking ban," Mr Anand said.

"We are well-prepared and in a good position to grasp the opportunities afforded by the ban by broadening the appeal of our pubs."

Plans are underway to develop the food, soft drink and wine ranges of GK's pubs in an attempt to appeal to women and families. "Branded coffee offers" will be introduced and it has "improved the quality of our outside trading areas".

The firm did decide to sell the 142 pubs which it feared were too exposed to the smoking ban, however.

Shares in Greene King rose by 7.29 per cent on early morning trading.


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