Pub company JD Wetherspoon has said booming food sales at its pubs in England have helped offset a decline in booze consumption due to the smoking ban.
The company said its sales continued to grow through out the UK despite public smoking bans being in place now throughout.
In the first 11 weeks of its fourth quarter, which crucially includes the first two weeks of the England smoking ban, like-for-like sales increased 4.9%.
Full-year sales compared with last year are running 6.9% ahead at present.
Wetherspoon reiterated its long-held view that the smoking ban was helping drive growth in food sales and off-setting a decline in bar sales but added the loss of more profitable alcohol sales was putting pressure on margins.
The company said it remained committed to an opening programme of 30 pubs in its next financial year.
By Christopher Walton