Increased food sales at pub business Spirit Pub Company have helped it grow its overall like-for-likes in its managed pubs by 2.3% during the 20 weeks to 5 January 2013.
Like-for-like food sales were up 3.3% while like-for-like drink sales climbed just 0.2%.
Spririt said the performance was against tough comparatives, having grown like-for-like sales by 7.1% in the corresponding period last year.
It said trading from October to mid December 2012 was challenging due to the wet weather, but that Christmas trading saw like-for-like sales up 5%.
In its leased business it saw like-for-like net turnover drop 2.1%, with like-for-like income down 2.9%.
The company also said it had invested in eight franchise pubs, five of which carry the John Barras branding and that initial results were "encouraging".
Mike Tye, chief executive, said: "We have made a solid start to the year in what remain challenging trading conditions as our guests remain under considerable financial pressure. Our Managed estate performance remains ahead of the market and we continue to focus on evolving our brands, offers and infrastructure to bring great value and choice to our guests.
"Our plans for our Leased estate remain on track as we look to help our licensees to develop their retail offers which we will support with continued innovation such as our franchise trials which are now underway. We continue to perform in line with expectations and we are confident that we have the right foundations in place to realise the full potential of our business."