Bury St Edmunds-based pub group Greene King has seen sales grow by more than two per cent buoyed up by a record Christmas performance.
The company, in Westgate Street, says like for like sales in its retail division grew by 2.2 per cent for the 40 weeks to February 7 this year.
It is an improvement on the two per cent sales growth reported in mid October.
But the group says customers are increasingly viewing its pubs as major destinations for meals.
And never more so than at Christmas when many people seem to have chosen to go to a pub or restaurant for their festive meal.
The group’s growth surge was powered by its trading over the two Christmas weeks, when like for like sales grew by five per cent in Greene King and 5.2 per cent in its Spirit-managed outlets.
Our positive trading results are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our teams.Ronney Anand, chief executive
There were record sales of £6.8 million on Christmas Day led by food and included a record pub trading day of £19,000 at the Farmhouse Inn in Ashton-under-Lyme.
Over Christmas and New Year, Prosecco volumes were up 69 per cent while Premium Gin grew 77 per cent.
And at New Year a record 4,447 drinks per minute were sold in the last hour of 2015.
Rooney Anand, chief executive officer, said: “This was another strong performance, with all divisions trading well during the important festive period, and record trading on Christmas Day.
“The latest Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker shows that, despite varying their choices when eating out, pubs were a major destination for customers.
“Our positive trading results are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our teams who gave our guests great experiences, with value, service and quality central to our offer.”
The company last year acquired rival pub operator Spirit for £774 million.
Mr Anand said: “I am pleased to report continued progress with the Spirit integration, including encouraging signs from our rebranded trial sites thus far, and continued progress in terms of synergy delivery.
“Our focus remains on the development and continuous enhancement of our core Greene King business while successfully integrating Spirit, to create the UK’s leading pub company.”
Like for like sales at Spirit managed pubs and restaurants are 1.1 per cent up.
Net income at Greene King’s tenanted pubs business is up 2.5 per cent for the 40 weeks.