Strong performance during the Olympics and Paralympics helped to increase total sales at JD Wetherspoon by 11.1%, during the company's first quarter to 28 October.
Like-for-like sales rose by 7.1% with an operating margin of 8.6% - around 0.4% lower than the last financial year, due to increases in costs in tax, energy bills, labour, bar and food supplies and marketing.
Although the company does not expect to sustain this level of growth for the rest of the financial year, it believes its sales, profit and cash flow will remain resilient.
JD Wetherspoon, which currently has 862 pubs and 30,000 employees, says the current main challenge for the pub industry is the VAT disparity between supermarkets and pubs, combined with the continuing imposition of stealth taxes such as the late-night levy and the increase in fruit/slot machine taxes.
Two new pubs were opened by the company in the last quarter, and a further eight pubs are under development, with around 25 pubs in total opening being launched in the current financial year.
By Janet Harmer
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