Like-for-like sales at pub group Greene King have risen thanks to higher demand for pub food, which partially offset the effects of rising inflation and low consumer confidence.
The firm's retail division saw like-for-likes increase 4.3% for the 10 weeks to 4 September and 2.6% in the last 18 weeks.
The performance was driven by food, where there was 4.7% like-for-like sales growth over 10 weeks, and 4.2% over 18 weeks.
The company added that margins and profits were in line with expectations and both its acquisitions this year - Cloverleaf and Realpubs - were trading strongly.
Its offer earlier this summer for Capital Pub Company has now been made unconditional, and Greene King said it expected to save around £2m in operational costs by bringing Capital into the business.
"The trading outlook remains uncertain as UK consumers are having to cope with rising costs, falling disposable income and the prospect of increased unemployment," the company said in a statement.
By Neil Gerrard
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