Pub operator JD Wetherspoon's profits have been propped up by its food and coffee sales as well as cheap drink promotions such as offering a pint for 99p.
The pub group, which operates 731 pubs said like-for-like sales were 1.2% ahead of the previous year in the months leading up to July, despite a slump in the first quarter, while profits rose by 13.6% to £66.2m, ahead of market expectations.
Wetherspoon's introduction of coffee and breakfasts helped trade, with more than 715,000 sold each week. The group opened 39 new properties in the year and plans to do the same in the next twelve months.
Tim Martin, chairman of J D Wetherspoon said he was pleased with the results, adding: "Our approach remains one of trying to make lots of small improvements in diverse areas of the business, creating momentum in the services and facilities offered to customers, as well as sales and profits for the company.
"Our combination of bar, food and coffee sales helps to ensure that pubs are busy throughout much of the week, maximising profits and employment opportunities, as well as generating volume growth for many of our suppliers."
The group plans to repay its £87m private placement, due for renewal this month, from cash flow and remaining facilities and will then focus on refinancing its £435m revolving loan facility that's due to expire at the end of the year.
Martin added: "The company has one of the lowest net-debt-to-EBITDA ratios in the listed pub sector. We remain confident of our future prospects."
By Emily Manson
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