Looks like there could be life in the pubs game yet.
The Spirit Pub Company, recently demerged from struggling Punch Taverns, yesterday said sales are soaring under the leadership of industry veteran Mike Tye.
Spirit consists of 800 pubs it manages itself and 550 which are leased to freelance landlords. Around 100 of the leased pubs will move in-house over time.
At the managed arm, sales in the 16 weeks to 10 December are up 6.2 per cent, driven partly by food sales, with concepts such as Flaming Grill proving popular.
Punch, however, saw like-for-like sales down 1.5 per cent at the "core estate" and a horrid 10.4 per cent at the "non-core" estate, the part it hopes to sell or shut.