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As profit venture, bed-and-breakfast is a bit sleepy

Those quiet, charming, hidden-away bed-and-breakfast inns may not be the new wave of United States business opportunity. In fact, a new survey shows that 80 percent of those tested are not directly profitable as primary sources of income. The survey was developed by Leslie B. Stevens at California State Polytechnic University (Pomona) and released by Laventhol & Horwath, a San Francisco consulting firm.

But there continues to be growth in the industry for several reasons:

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* The restful idea has appealed largely to budgeting tourists - even though average room prices are about the same as competitive hotels and motels.

* Although profits may be elusive, bed-and-breakfast operations continue to be valid tax shelters and property appreciation investments. The survey pointed out that - apropos of keeping them afloat - 54 percent of the respondents had other sources of income.

Over 75 percent of the B&Bs studied reported better occupancy averages in 1982. Most guests today are singles and couples without children.

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