Douglas Jack, leading sector analyst at Numis, has said that Fuller’s needs to “utilise its strong excess cash flow” to increase its pub estate from its current size of c.360. Jack said: "We view Fuller's as one of the highest-quality pub operators - based on estate, brand, management and balance sheet strength - worthy of its premium rating. "We believe the risk to forecasts remains on the upside, but substantial share price out-performance requires the company to utilise its strong excess cash inflow to make acquisitions if the right deals become available." Jack said that the company would "comfortably" hit its pre-tax profit forecast of £28m when it reports full-year results on Friday. He said: “Like-for-like sales were up 3.5% after nine months (versus our 2.0% full year assumption), subsequent to which the company’s London-orientated estate should have outperformed. Relative to its local competitors, Fullers places greater emphasis on operational innovation and improving the quality of its estate.” Numis said that Fuller's tenanted estate has "an above-average orientation to food", which should help to support the pubs' ongoing performance, along with increased investment in licensee training and central purchasing. The analyst also noted that Fuller's had locked in its food and utility costs until spring 2012, which should help to keep its margins up. He said: “With food and utility costs locked in until Spring 2012, good trading over Q4 should have enabled margins (up 50bps in H1; and forecast to be up 50bps in H2) to at least match expectations.”