Karen Jones, the chief executive of Spirit Group, said that the group was considering a number of options, including an IPO. Speaking to The Times, Jones said: "There are a number of options available to Spirit which I am discussing – amicably – with all my investors. An IPO remains one of those options." The company is reported to be in talks with an unnamed party regarding the sale of its high-street pubs estate. Spirit is also linked to a joint £2.5bn bid from Punch Taverns and Mitchells & Butlers. The comments came as company reported like-for-like sales up 2.7% during the fourth quarter to 22 August, helped by a 6.5% rise in food sales. Like-for-like drink sales were up 1.7% during the quarter. Spirit said trading in its London pubs had been strong until the July 7 bombings in the capital but had suffered since then. "We're confident that these pubs appeal to people who live and work in London. We think we are going to see any dip in trading coming back during the autumn," Jones said.