UK pub operator JD Wetherspoon is to open 30 new pubs and create 1,200 jobs in 2007.
The company is to invest more than £35m developing the pubs across the UK, including new outlets in Sheffield, Bishop Auckland, St Austell, Hertford and Devizes.
Wetherspoon's also plans to invest another £25m on its existing pubs, with the creation of exterior smoking areas and the installation of super-chilled serving technology.
Wetherspoon's boss John Hutson said: "Our non-smoking pubs have proven very popular and this has given us the impetus to open more pubs in 2007.
"Although the non-smoking ban might effect sales in all pubs when it is introduced, we are confident that in the long-term it will result in more people visiting pubs and that it will be a positive move. As a result of this, we are increasing our pub opening programme in 2007."
At present Wetherspoon has 662 pubs and bars in the UK.
by James Garner
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