Fuller’s, the London brewer and operator, has this morning produced impressive like-for-like growth of 3.7% in the 10 weeks to 22 January at its managed pubs – but warned on the issue of cost inflation and the increasing pressure on discretionary spending (Ewan Turney writes). The group said that year-to-date like-for-like sales growth – for the 43 weeks – were ahead 3.5% at its managed pubs and hotels. Like-for-like profit at its tenanted pub division remained. Own-beer volumes for the 17 weeks to 22 January 2011 grew 1%, with a 1% decrease in the full 43 weeks. On cost and consumer pressure, Michael Turner, executive chairman, said: "January has started with the VAT increase and further tax rises, including the damaging duty escalator, and government spending cuts are set to follow. “Despite this we are confident that we will meet our expectations for the full financial year. “Looking further ahead to 2011/12, cost inflation is becoming an issue and we are concerned that in these uncertain times our customers may have less discretionary spend. "However, our excellent beers and high quality, well-invested pubs in the South of England leave us well placed to meet these challenges." Since the half-year, it has disposed of four pubs — Fur & Feathers in Herriard, the White Bear in Hounslow, the Waggon & Horses in Brentford and the Jackdaw & Rook in Balham — leaving 360 pubs in the estate. At the end of the third quarter on 25 December 2010, net debt was £90.5m, down from £93.6m at the half year.