Regent Inns, the quoted bar and pub operator, has reported a 0.4% decrease in like-for-like sales for the year to 1 July. In a trading statement, the company, which operates the Walkabout and Jongleurs brands, said underlying trading on the high street since the New Year “has been difficult”. However, it said that trading through Walkabout, the largest part of its estate, had achieved “positive like-for-like growth”, and that it expects trading results will be “in line with consensus market expectations”. Since Regent’s last update on 6 June it said that trading “has been in line with management expectations”, helped by the fact that the last day of the company’s financial year coincided with England’s exit from the World Cup. The company, which benefited from all five England games and Australia’s success in making it to the second round, said trading on key match days had “fulfilled our expectations and underlined the ability of the Walkabout brand to deliver a great experience for major sporting events”. Bob Ivell, executive chairman of Regent, said: “The board remains confident of the on-going prospects for Walkabout and Jongleurs, our two premier brands, and continues to seek value enhancing opportunities for the company”. In recent months Regent has been linked to possible targets including Inventive Leisure and Urban Dining and had a series of offers for Urbium rejected. Last month, Regent announced that discussions regarding a possible offer for the company have ended. The group confirmed in April that it had received an approach from an unnamed suitor. Sources close to the situation suggested that Alchemy Partners, the private equity group, which already has majority stakes in Inventive Leisure and Tattershall Castle Group, was behind the approach for the group. It is believed that Alchemy's offer was close to 120p a share, which would value Regent at close to £135m, or about £190m including debt. Electra Partners, the private equity firm, which owns bar chain Urbium, was also reportedly interested.