Pub group Greene King has seen a rise in sales in the first four months of its financial year, thanks to a strong appetite for pub food.
The company, which runs about 2,400 pubs in England and Scotland, said like-for-like sales at managed pubs in England grew by 4.6% in the 17 weeks to 30 August.
Pubs with a strong food offering were the best performers, benefiting from an increase of like-for-like food sales of 8.1%.
Greene King said despite the strong start to the financial year it remained cautious on the outlook for the industry and the economy.
"The consumer recovery is fragile and there are numerous risks to current levels of consumer spending, particularly for the second half of our financial year, including rising unemployment and taxes, slowing wage growth and increasing debt repayments," the company said.
"However, our businesses are undoubtedly stronger now than they were before the consumer downturn and our people remain highly motivated to deliver outstanding performance. We are therefore in a strong position to continue outperforming the market across the UK pub and beer sector."
By Rosie Birkett
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