Sales at pub company JD Wetherspoon surged in the last quarter, surprising industry analysts.
Like-for-like sales increased 3.2% in the last quarter compared to a decline of 2% a year ago.
Total sales for the chain increased 3.1% to £209.3m thanks to a sustained improvement in operating margin.
Nigel Popham, director of independent stockbroker Teather & Greenwood, said: “These are stronger figures than people thought. They are turning the corner to some extent but obviously are still quite cautious about quarter four.”
Wetherspoon fears a tough time in the fourth quarter as punters flock to pubs screening football World Cup matches, an area the once famously TV-free pub company still lags behind its rivals in.
And although company sales in Scotland since the start of the smoking ban in March have been “positive”, Wetherspoon said it remained cautious as an initial boost in Ireland after their smoking ban was followed by a dip in pub industry profits.
By Alix Young