Fuller’s revenue increased to £168.9m for the 26 weeks to 24 September 2022, from £116.3m in H1 2021 – a rise of 45%.

The premium pub and hotel operator reported that like-for-like (lfl) sales in the first half of the current financial year had grown by 20%, with central London seeing lfl growth of 67%.

In terms of current trading, lfl sales in the seven weeks to 12 November were up 13% year-on-year, with growth in central London of +20%, despite the challenge macroeconomic environment.

The business said Christmas bookings were strong and it expected additional uplift from the World Cup.

EBITDA for the half-year period was £28.9m, compared to £22.8m in the comparable period last year, and adjusted profit before tax came in at £9.8m compared to £4.6m as the benefit of its post-pandemic sales recovery exceeded inflationary increases in its cost base, it said.

Net debt decreased from £131.5m to £129.2m. Fuller’s said cash generated by the business was funding investment and that it has “significant capacity to investment in growth” with a four-year £200m bank facility, effective from May 2022.

It invested £12 in its estate over the 26-week period.

During the half-year period, the business reported continuing sales momentum, despite the disruption caused by the rail and tube strikes.

Strategic highlights included work on digital transformation, with the launch of new look websites and an enhanced consumer marketing capacity.

Commenting on the results, Simon Emeny, chief executive, Fuller’s, said: “Following on from a good first half performance, we have maintained our forward momentum in the seven weeks post the period end, with like for like sales up by 13% against the same period last year.

“While we look forward to our first Christmas free of restrictions for three years, and the added bonus of a FIFA World Cup, we are trading in an increasingly challenging environment.

“Cost pressures from energy bills, wage and food inflation, and increasing interest rates continue to impact us and all businesses in the hospitality sector. Our teams are working hard to manage these pressures, while ensuring we continue to deliver an outstanding experience for our customers.”

Emeny said Fuller’s “remain confident in the future and resilient in the present”.