Punch Taverns said sales at its managed pubs had flattened in the first few weeks of its new financial year following July's smoking ban and waning consumer confidence.
The company said a combination of factors had made it more cautious about short-term trading, although chief executive Giles Thorley said he was still confident the group would meet current year market forecasts.
Thorley's comments came as Punch announced its full year results for the 12 months to 18 August 2007, which saw overall turnover up 10% to £1,705m, with pre-tax profits rising 13% to £282m, slightly above analysts' expectations.
Average profit per leased pub increased by 11% with core managed average profit up 15% from last year.
Thorley said: "This has been a year of intense activity, significant operational change and business improvement for the group. We are continuing to further improve the quality of our estate whilst maintaining the robust nature of the business model.
"We are pleased to have once again delivered a strong set of results despite the challenges of the last quarter of the year."
By Kerstin Kühn