Greene King’s Pub Company arm has seen like-for-like sales (lfls) fall by 1.8% for the first 18 weeks of the new financial year, to 1 September, however the past seven weeks saw a 1.5% uplift.

The pub operator and brewer, which has recently been the subject of a £2.7bn acquisition bid from CK Asset Holdings, said the increase in lfls over the summer demonstrated the positive impact of its ongoing work to improve value, service and quality.

On a two year-basis, lfls were up 1% for the 18-week period. The decline in lfls during the same period this year reflected the tough comparatives of the World Cup and good weather last year.

Within its Pub Partners arm, lfl net income was down 4.2% for the first 16 weeks, driven by softer lfl beer sales, it said. While in Brewing & Brands, total beer volumes were down 6.5% for the first 18 weeks and own-brewed volumes were down 7.9%.

The business, which will hold its AGM later today, said it was on track with its cost mitigation programme and expected to limit net inflation this financial year to £10-20m.

“We also continue to make progress on our refinancing programme and in June we prepaid the remaining £93m Spirit A4 bonds. We remain on track with our disposal programme and expect to dispose of 85-95 pubs this year, generating disposal proceeds of £45-55m from which we will fund the opening of eight new pubs,” it said.

Under the terms of the proposed acquisition, the previously announced final dividend for the 52 weeks ended 28 April 2019 of 24.4 pence per Greene King share will be paid on 13 September 2019 to Greene King shareholders on the register as at the close of business on 9 August 2019, subject to approval by shareholders at the AGM.