McManus Pub Group, the 17-strong Northamptonshire-based operator, saw like-for-like sales grow 2.5% to £11.2m to 30 July 2016.

The group saw total sales dip 3.2% to £11.9m - following the sale of two pubs. Underlying profit before tax was up 16.4% on the previous year to £1.9m.

Like-for-like sales have grown 2.6% in first half of the current financial year. The group said that it was currently developing its 18th pub and has restructured to bring all its trading pub companies under the McManus Pub Group umbrella.

Food sales during the year grew to £3.4m, and now represent 28.9% of total sales with food gross margin increasing to 67.9%. Wet sales were up 5.5% on like for like basis.

Trading pub EBITDA remained constant at £2.5m. McManus said Improved earnings stemming from sales growth, enhanced margin and lower operating costs had allowed it to hold its earnings even after the sale of two contributing freehold pubs.

Term debt at 30 July 2016 totalled £6.9m - down £1.1m on the previous year, and total debt to group earnings reduced to sub three times.

Chris Wright, financial director at McManus, said: “We are encouraged by this strong and consistent growth in profit. There has been a significant focus placed on profit conversion, gross profit up from 71.5% to 73.1% and operating profit up to 19.4%.”