Marston's chief executive Ralph Findlay gave a guarded assessment of prospects on Friday when he reported a 6.6% fall in pre-tax profits from £101.5m to £94.7m. The floods which devastated parts of Britain in June and July did not help, forcing the closure of 150 of the company's pubs with refurbishment costs of about £3m. But turnover grew 9.6% to £652.8m following the acquisition of Sovereign Inns, Eldridge Pope and Ringwood Brewery. Earnings per share were 27.9p compared with 23.8p last time. The company expected to see the long-term declining trend in the UK beer market continue, but is seeing growth in its niche and premium cask ale brands. Food sales are also growing. By 2010 Mr Findlay expects them to account for 40% of turnover, up from 34% this year. The Financial Times 01/12/07 (Companies & Markets) page 20 The Daily Telegraph 01/12/07 page 37 The Independent 01/12/07 page 67 The Times 01/12/07 page 58