Brewer and pub operator Marstons has reported sales slightly above expectations in the 23 weeks to 10 March.
The trading update, which covers the bulk of the first half of its financial year, showed like-for-like sales for were 3.5% ahead of last year.
The company could not keep up the 5.0% growth in sales it reported for the 16 week period to January 21st, but today's figures were better than the 3% expected by some analysts.
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Marstons said like-for-like food sales had grown 3.9% and like-for-like drinks sales were up by 3.4%.
The company expected the consumer backdrop to remain weak in 2012, but hoped to benefit from Euro 2012 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, said Chief Executive Ralph Findlay.
The firm indicated its operating margin was in line with last year and plans to build around 25 pub-restaurants in the current financial year remained on track.
In tenanted and franchised pubs profits were estimated to be 3% ahead of last year, Marstons said.
It put this down to a successful rollout of retail agreements to around 400 pubs in its franchise estate, and robust trading in its tenanted estate.
Net debt and cash flow were in line with expectations, the firm added.
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