Punch Taverns hit by stay-at-homes

Sales at Punch Taverns' mainstream pubs are down by 5 per cent over the past four months as trading becomes increasingly difficult with drinkers staying at home.

The country's largest pubs chain said that this was in line with its forecasts and predicted a return to growth next year.

It expects to sell around 400 of its non-core pubs this year and said it still believes it can achieve a substantial financial restructuring to cut its £2bn of debt.