Spirit Pub Company has reported an acceleration in like-for-like growth in the eight weeks to 1 March, with like-for-like net sales in its managed arm up 6.1% and like-for-like net income in the leased division up 6% in the period.

For the managed division, the like-for-like net sales growth compares to +4.8% across the 28 weeks to 1 March. Like-for-like growth in the eight weeks was 6.7% for food (28 weeks: +4.8%) and 5.5% for drink (28 weeks: +4.3%).

Spirit said: “We are encouraged by the continued strong performance of our managed pubs. Whilst like-for-like sales in the recent trading period benefitted from snow-impacted comparatives, we continue to perform ahead of the market with good momentum achieved in both food and drink sales.”

Like-for-like net income in the leased estate increased from +2.6% in the 28 weeks to +6% over the eight-week period. Like-for-like net turnover increased from +2.9% to +4.5% over the corresponding period.

The company stated: “We are pleased with the performance of the leased estate with like-for-like net income remaining in positive territory.

“As a result of changes in the supply network ordering process in the period, sales have been brought forward into H1. Without this, like-for-like net income would still have been up 4.6% in the eight week trading period and 2.2% in the year to date.”

Mike Tye, chief executive, said: “Whilst this short eight week period of trading has benefitted from the milder winter weather, our leased estate continues to make positive progress and we are confident that our managed estate will continue to go from strength to strength.

“We remain focused on further improving the quality of our estate through investment in our people, properties, and licensees complemented by innovation, brand evolution, and selective acquisitions and disposals.”