Greene King saw sales boosted by warm weather and the World Cup over the summer, with England football fans sinking more than 3 million pints while watching Gareth Southgate’s men reach the semi-finals.
The pubs chain pointed to “positive momentum” as it booked a 2.8% increase in like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to September 2.
Growth over the last 10 weeks stood at 3.2%.
Greene King’s branded local pubs traded particularly well, with comparable sales up 5.5%, driven by fans boozing it up during England’s impressive World Cup run.
A total of 3.7 million pints of beer were sold during the team’s seven matches in the tournament, and like-for-like sales on the day of the semi-final were up 61%.
The firm said: “This strong performance was underpinned by the ongoing benefits from our sales driving investment to further improve our value, service and quality, and boosted by the weather and a successful World Cup.”
The results will come as welcome relief for the pubs group, which recently posted a slump in profits amid “unprecedented” cost rises.
It again blamed cost pressures for like-for-like sales falling 0.4% at Greene King’s pub partners unit.
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 shareholdersGreene King
The firm said its “cost mitigation programme” is helping to offset cost inflation of £45 million to £50 million, adding that it is making good progress with a refinancing programme, which will reduce the cost of debt.
Total beer volumes in Brewing & Brands were up 4% and own-brewed volumes were up 0.3%.
Greene King remains on course to dispose of 100-110 pubs this year and will open around nine new outlets.
“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,” the company said.