Shepherd Neame grew like-for-like EBITDAR 2.1% across its tenanted and leased pub estate in the 26 weeks to 23 December, while like-for-like sales in its managed arm also grew 2.1%.

The group said accommodation sales had been particularly strong in the managed estate – up 6.4% on a like-for-like basis- and that average EBITDAR per pub in the tenanted and leased estate grew by 5.7%.

Like-for-like drinks sales in the managed estate grew by 2.3% with like-for-like food sales more sluggish at 0.2%.

Turnover increased by 6.3% to £84.1m during the period, while underlying EBITDA grew 4.6% to £121.1m.

Own beer volumes excluding contract increased by 4.2% during a period in which management structure in the brewery was streamlined and operating costs reduced, following the conclusion of the Asahi Super Dry licence.

At the group operated 322 pubs (2016: 335) of which 248 are tenanted or leased (2016: 261), 66 are managed (2016: 67) and eight (2016: seven) are held as investment properties under commercial free of tie leases.

Shepherd Neame invested £4.4m in improving the look and feel of pubs and £1.3m in repairs and decorations during the period. The major project in the managed estate was Pier Five Bar and Kitchen, Chatham Maritime. There are three further major redevelopment projects underway in the second half with c£1m investments in each of: The Spitfire, Kingshill, West Malling; The Boathouse (formally The Anchor), Yalding and the Market House (formally Earls), Maidstone. All three projects will complete by the summer.

On the outlook for the rest of the year, chairman Miles Templeman said: “Whilst the recent weather and trading conditions have been more challenging than in the prior period, - at a time when we have to contend with significant cost inflation and political and economic uncertainty - we have achieved satisfactory growth. We have made the necessary changes to our brewing and brands business to ensure it is well positioned for the future and, in the second half, we have some exciting pub developments.

“The year ahead will continue to present challenges and uncertainty. We remain focused on our core objectives and on making investments for the long term benefit of shareholders.”