McMullen’s, the Hertfordshire brewer and pub operator, has reported a 6% fall in profit for the 53 weeks to 2 October 2010 despite a 3.9% rise in turnover. Higher expenditure on property repair was cited as a key reason - expenditure was £0.4m higher in 2010 than in 2009. Turnover reached £58.7m with operating profit down from £6m to £5.6m. Like-for-like liquor sales were down 0.2%, which the company said compares “favourably” with an on-trade beer market that's declining 6.6%. Total sales in its managed house division were up 2.9%, helped by the acquisition of the Heron on the Lake at Fleet, Hampshire, and the Bullfinch in Sevenoaks, Kent, “along with three very successful refurbishments of pubs within the existing estate”. “Sites in central London continued to perform well as did food led pubs with like for like food sales up by 2.9%,” McMullen’s added. Interest and similar charges against income was down 17.8% (£64,000) to £295,000. Profit on ordinary activities before exceptional items and tax fell 6.6% to £6.363m. The first half of the current year has seen like-for-like sales in the managed pubs rise 4%, “helped enormously by the very good weather earlier on in the year,” said managing director Peter Furness-Smith. But he warned: “The outlook is less certain as Government policy continues to load tax and bureaucracy costs onto the pub sector in the mistaken belief that it will resolve the irresponsible, excessive consumption of alcohol by a relatively small number of individuals. "They just do not wish to understand the simple fact that pubs carry the cost of supervising the sale of alcohol whereas sales of alcohol through supermarkets are consumed in unsupervised environments.” Furness-Smith called for more Government action to help pubs, criticising the tax regime that he said means tax payers lose around 50p in VAT for every pint sold in supermarkets as opposed to pubs.