A miserable spell of weather over June and July has not affected Midland-based Enterprise Inns' profits, the pub firm's chief executive said yesterday.

"Clearly the weather was difficult but it has not made any material difference to our fullyear results," Ted Tuppen insisted.

"In this country we get 12 months of weather but they rarely come in the same order. July was particularly grim but August has been great and April was fantastic."

Pub firms have been hit by a double whammy of the wettest summer on record and the recently introduced smoking ban in pubs. The first has left usually packed beer gardens deserted while the second has seen some disgruntled smokers stay at home.

Last week, Britain's biggest pub firm, Burton-on-Trent-based Punch, said these issues would hit year profits by around three per cent and analysts have partly blamed the weather for a roughly 20 per cent drop in shares in the sector since May.

On average, Solihull-headquartered Enter-prise is expected by analysts to post annual pretax profits of £301 million. It gives a pre close trading update on September 28.

Mr Tuppen said it was too early to tell what impact the smoking ban had had.

"My anecdotal view is that in good pubs there has been very little impact but we will only form a view following the winter.

"I think people need to remain cautious until they see what has happened from November to March when it will be less attractive to stand out in the cold and rain."

The smoking ban led pub firms to serve more food in the hope of drawing in non-smoking diners and families to replace the hole in takings left by hardened beer-drinking smokers.

Mr Tuppen said that pubs should not get too drawn into serving average food and concentrate on what they do best.

"Clearly food sales continue to increase well above the rate of inflation."

"There is almost a bit too much focus on it. The best way to deal with the smoking ban is to be a great pub, not to be an average food pub."

Enterprise has around 7,500 pubs, all of which are run by individual landlords who pay the firm rent and buy beer from it.

Mr Tuppen said it would continue to buy and sell off pubs but said no big scale acquisition was on the horizon.

"We look at all acquisitions but to be honest we don't see material acquisitions of sufficient quality being available."

The firm has also been holding talks with the Inland Revenue over the possibility of defining the beer it sells its tenants as rent in the hope of being able to reach the required ratio of rent and profit to be classed as a low tax Real Estate Investment Trust. Mr Tuppen declined to comment how the talks were going.

Reports have suggested that the wet weather and the smoking ban have led an increasing numbers of tenants to call time on their leases but Mr Tuppen said Enterprise had seen no evidence of the problem.