The City Pub Group has posted a jump in earnings and sales as the company looks to exceed its pledge to double the number of sites by 2021.
Sales rose by 24% for the 26-week period ending 1 July 2018, while EBITDA increased by 25% to £3m when adjusted for exceptional items and share option charges.
Growth has also continued after the period, with sales rising by 24% in the 11 weeks after 1 July, thanks to the hot weather and the World Cup.
Meanwhile, the group's expansion plans have continued apace. So far, nine pubs have opened in 2018 and, with a further four sites in development, the company looks likely to exceed its plans to reach 65-70 locations by 2021.
Clive Watson, executive chairman of the City Pub Group, said: "The strategic expansion of our high-quality, drink-led estate has been key to the strong progress we have made in the first half. We were well-positioned to capitalise on the excellent weather and our sports-orientated pubs have benefited significantly from the World Cup.
"The nine new sites that we have brought on-stream over the course of 2018 have contributed to the increase in sales and group EBITDA, which is reflected in today's results.
"The momentum from the first half has continued into the second half, and in the 11 weeks since 1 July, we have seen sales increase by 24%. We are ahead of our original target to double the number of pubs operated by 2021 and expect to have 50 by mid-2019.
"This will be assisted by softening conditions in the acquisitions market and limited competition for sites. We are confident of meeting market expectations for 2018 and believe we have the right team and strategy to continue making progress."