Total sales during the period increased by 11.1%, but the 862-strong company warned that it does not expect this level of sales growth to be sustained for the rest of the financial year.
Operating margin stood 8.6%, approximately 0.4% lower than the last financial year, which the group said was due to increases in costs in areas such as tax, utilities, labour and bar and food supplies, combined with increased marketing costs.
It opened two new pubs in the quarter and currently has a further eight under development. The group said that it remained its intention to open approximately 25 pubs in its current financial year.
It said: “As indicated in our annual results announcement, the main challenges for the pub industry are the VAT disparity between supermarkets and pubs, combined with the continuing imposition of stealth taxes (which apply to pubs but not to supermarkets) such as the late-night levy and the increase in fruit/ slot machine taxes.
"In spite of these challenges our sales, profit and cash flow remain resilient and the board continues to aim for a reasonable outcome in the current financial year.”