StockMarketWire.com - Pub group Greene King said Thursday Christmas bookings were well ahead of last year after reporting first-half profits rose modestly on 'strong' performance in Pub Company and Brewing & Brands.

For the six months to 14 October, profit before tax rose 3.2% to £127.7m and group revenue was £1.1bn, up 1.9% from a year earlier.

Pub Company's like-for-like sales rose 2.7%, beating a 1.1% rise in the broader market, driven by the ongoing benefits from investments, good weather and the World Cup. 'The strong momentum in Pub Company has been maintained since the period end with LFL sales up 2.9% after 30 weeks,' the company said.

Brewing & Brands revenue was up 7.5% in the half year, driven by increased sales of third party beers, the company said.

Greene King branded local pubs delivered like-for-like sales of 4.9%.

The pub group said it remained on track to keep full year net cost inflation to range of £10 to £20m.

The interim dividend was unchanged at 8.8p a share. 'Ongoing uncertainty around Brexit may impact on consumer confidence, but as a team we are focused on our key strategic priorities and remain confident of our outlook for the financial year,' Greene King said. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com