Spirit shows pubs are alive and kicking

Spirit Pub Company, the business spun out of Punch Taverns, showed that there's life in the pub game yet today. Sales were up a healthy 2.3 per cent, driven by food sales up 3.3 per cent, in the 20 weeks to 5 January.

Christmas trading was strong, and its chief executive Mike Tye reckons a backroom shake-up of systems will enable cost savings and other efficiency gains. He said: "We are taking the consumer with us. We have got to keep moving along."