Greene King, the brewer and pub operator, has reported a 2.4% drop in like–for-like sales in its pubs in Scotland in the 13 weeks to 30 July. The group said that trading in Scotland had continued to be variable since the implementation of the smoking ban on 26 March, but it was “better than we had anticipated”. The company also said it was “encouraged by the growth in food revenues” for the future development of its business north of the border. The group reported that overall trading for the 13 weeks to 30 July has been positive and in line with expectations. Total like-for-like sales in Pub Company, its managed pubs division, were up by 5.0% over the period compared to the previous year, which in part was driven by a strong performance during the World Cup. Total like-for-like sales through Pub Partners, the company’s tenanted and leased division, were up 1.0%. The company said that its Brewing Company enjoyed strong beer volumes during the World Cup and this summer’s hot weather, with lager sales particularly good, while its own brewed volume grew by 1.0%. The group reported that margins remained robust across all four of its divisions. Greene King’s anticipated £271m acquisition of Hardys & Hansons is expected to be completed on 5 September, after being approved by 95% of the Nottinghamshire-based brewer and pub operator’s shareholders.