Fuller’s has reported managed like-for-like sales for the seven weeks to 18 September 2021 stand at 86% of 2019 levels.

The pub and hotel operator said it had traded at a “steadily increasing level” across its estate, and looked forward to the further benefits of increasing footfall in the City and a continued return to office working.

The brief trading update was made ahead of the company’s AGM today.

Chief Executive Simon Emeny said life was “gradually returning to normal”, with a return of customers to its central London pubs.

He said: “While we are not immune to some of the well-documented challenges facing the wider hospitality industry such as recruitment, the pandemic has further highlighted the attraction and resilience of our well-balanced, premium estate.

“Our rural pubs and hotels have benefited from the increase in domestic tourism during the summer months and we are now beginning to see a return of customers to our Central London pubs, which is a great sign as we head into a busy trading period.

“Life is gradually returning to normal, and the benefit of the continued investment in our pubs and hotels during lockdown is becoming evident. In particular, the winterisation projects that have been delivered across the estate will increase capacity and maximise the opportunity from our gardens and outside areas later into the winter months and early spring.

“Our tenants have also invested in their pubs and this strategically important part of our business continues to perform well, underpinned by our successful recruitment and retention of great, entrepreneurial businesspeople with ambition and drive.

“It’s been a tough 18 months for everyone in hospitality - we are confident in our strategy and proud of our pubs and people. Our long-term vision has not changed, we have an excellent, well-invested estate, a strong balance sheet, and we look forward to the coming months with confidence and optimism.”

The company issues its half year results for the 26 weeks to 25 September 2021.