Punch Taverns, the UK's largest pub operator, has revealed in an AGM statement that sales for the first 20 weeks of its financial year have risen 5% in its managed estate business and 1% in its leased business.
At the company's annual general meeting, chief executive Giles Thorley will tell shareholders that it has now converted 301 managed pubs from Spirit to a leased format.
From August 20 to 6 January, Punch acquired 125 pubs and sold 56, taking its overall estate to 9,325 pubs. Acquisitions included Mill House Inns, a company owning 82 managed pubs which was acquired in September for £164m.
"This has been a period of continued progress for Punch Taverns on all fronts. Our pubs are trading well in a quiet market and we have continued to improve the quality of our estate through conversions, acquisitions and investment," Thorley said in the statement.
"We continue to invest in pub amenities and customer service to ensure our pubs are ready when the smoking ban is introduced in England and Wales later this year."
Thorley will also confirm a number of changes to the Punch board. Phil Cox is retiring after four years as chairman, and will be replaced by Peter Cawdron. Martin Glenn retires from the board today.
Andrew Knight, managing director of Spirit, joins the board as executive director, while Phil Dutton, who until recently was finance director of clothes retailer Matalan, becomes non-executive director.
"These new appointments will strengthen our retail skills at board level as we drive forward the quality of our pub estate," Thorley said.
By Daniel Thomas