Pub giant Enterprise Inns has said last year’s new licensing laws had minimal impact on trade but have brought other benefits, especially a more relaxed drinking atmosphere.
The company, which has more than 7,500 pubs, said flexible opening times had led to a big improvement in customers’ behaviour, especially around closing time.
Chief executive Ted Tuppen said he was pleased that the Government also appeared to now be taking the issue of cheap supermarket booze seriously and the effect it can have in fuelling alcohol related crime.
In Scotland, where the company has 138 boozers, Tuppen said those that were predominantly wet-led had, unsurprisingly, seen the heaviest falls in trade. This had in turn had an adverse effect on gaming revenues.
It is clear that any negative effects were minimised where licensees prepared for the ban, Tuppen added.
Enterprise said that it remained confident its estate would be well placed when the smoking ban in England and Wales comes into force next year.
The company, following the recent sale of 769 pubs to Admiral Taverns, has increased its share buy back programme.
As at 25 September it had purchased into treasury or for cancellation 41 million shares at an average price of £9.26. This leaves 301 million shares in issue.
Enterprise, which will announced full-year results in November, said current trading was inline with expectations.
By Chris Druce
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