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Greene King Pleased with Smoke-Free Scottish Pubs

Britain's Greene King said on Monday its pubs and breweries had performed to plan in the year so far, with last year's Scottish smoking ban denting sales less than expected.

The 205-year-old brewer of Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen said its tenanted pubs had increased like-for-like sales by 1.3% in the first 36 weeks of its financial year, while the pubs its manages itself raised sales by 3.4%.

Retail sales at its Scottish Belhaven division fell 2.8% during the period, less than expected when it bought Belhaven in 2005, it added.

Scotland banned smoking in public places in March 2006, and England and Wales are due to follow suit in July.

"In this first winter of the Scottish smoking ban, high street pubs, and those with outside areas, have continued to do well - food has grown strongly, whilst liquor sales are down," said Greene King.

Sales of Belhaven Best ale rose 4.7%, while the rest of its beers also grew strongly.