Bury St Edmunds-based pubs and brewing group Greene King is celebrating after its sales rose by 5.2% to £595.4million in the first six months of its financial year.

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Greene King produced what its chief executive, Rooney Anand, described as a “a very pleasing set of figures”, with headline profits up by 5.7% to £85.6m.

The company saw strong growth from some of its key sales categories, including food, which now represents 41% of retail sales.

Its retail sites grew by 22 to 1,008, but it also saw 59 disposals in pub partners, with its trading estate now down to 1,218 sites, a fall of 28% from its peak.

Mr Anand said: “This is a very pleasing set of figures and we have made great progress in the first half of this financial

year. Growth has once again been led by our retail business, which grew profits by 8% over last year, helped by a combination of organic growth and further strategic acquisitions. The tenanted and brewing businesses also performed well, helping the overall business to deliver healthy earnings, dividend growth and further improvement in our return on capital employed.

“While trading through the first half of the year and since the period-end has been strong, and the economic outlook looks to be improving, customers remain careful with their money, particularly outside London and the South East. We believe that our strategy, tailored for these conditions, will continue to deliver growth and further value to our shareholders across the rest of this year and beyond.”

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