Independent pub company Peach has announced its most successful week on record, reporting a 7.1% like for like increase, and sales of £600,000, in the last week before Christmas 2013.
Co-founder Stoddart said that despite the challenges of having many of its 16 pubs in market towns rather than major cities, he and Cash were "proud" that they had managed to "beat the competition" to achieve a strong second half in the increasingly-difficult sector, and keep customers coming back.
This is despite his statement that people in market towns are less likely to have had pay rises and be able to eat out as regularly.
He said: "Operators think it's easy to run pubs in market towns and therefore they're coming into them, but the reality is it's a pretty tough and competitive place.
Market towns are very difficultâ¦ operators are competing for a tight income pot from a local population that's limited, unlike the city where there's a much bigger population to draw from."
The company, which was started 11 years ago and runs a variety of pubs and gastropubs around the UK, has achieved growth-on-growth profit every year.
Last year's top-performing pubs included The Fishes near Oxford (up 25%) and the Rose and Crown in Warwick, which received £55,000 in the last full trading week of December - its biggest week since it opened as the firm's original pub 11 years ago.
Stoddart also highlighted The Chequers in Hampshire, which is run in partnership with pubco Spirit, as is the equally-successful Old Mill in Berkhamsted.
He added: "We're still going forward every year, with another great year under our belts in 2013 and everything to play for in 2014."
The company - whose sites also include The James Figg in Thame, The Fleece in Witney and the Star and Garter in Leamington Spa â' has plans to expand over the next 12 months, with at least one new opening confirmed for this year as well as two major refurbishments of existing properties, and a hunt for new suitable sites.