Pre-tax profit at Enterprise Inns fell by a third in the six months to the end of March as the smoking ban and pressure on consumer spending continued to weigh on business. Financial Times, Daily Telegraph

Enterprise, which warned in January that pub companies were experiencing one of their toughest periods for many years, said trading was likely to stay tough. Ted Tuppen, chief executive, said: 'A number of pubgoers are smokers and some of those people have decided to go less often. Consumers are also facing rising costs and that means they have less money to spend.'

In spite of the uncertain outlook for the pubs trade, the company said it would press ahead with the conversion into a REIT. 'There are still a lot of boxes we need to tick,” said Mr Tuppen. “But the intention is to go ahead with it otherwise we wouldn’t have applied for it.'

Revenue at the tenanted pub group, which has 7,700 establishments, fell by 3% to £438m during the first half.