Greene King has reported positive trading with like-for-like sales up 2.8% for the first 18 weeks of the year.
The brewer and pub company's like-for-like sales for the 18 weeks to 2 September 2018 were ahead of the market compared to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker average (1.2%). Growth over the past 10 weeks was at 3.2%, a strong performance boosted by the weather and a successful World Cup.
Greene King-branded local pubs traded particularly well with like-for-like sales up 5.5%, driven by very strong like-for-like drink growth. The company sold 3.7 million pints of beer during England's seven World Cup matches and like-for-like sales on the day of the semi-final were up 61%.
Like-for-like net profit in pub partners was down slightly at -0.4% after 16 weeks, affected by the timing of higher overhead costs, which the company expects to balance out over the year. Total beer volumes in brewing and brands were up 4% and own-brewed volumes were up 0.3%.
Greene King confirmed it remains on course to dispose of 100-110 pubs this year and expects to open around nine new pubs.
The company said: "We continue to focus on profitably, driving top-line growth, developing a more streamlined and efficient organisation and further strengthening our capital structure to deliver long-term value creation for our shareholders."