Shares in the company rose more than 5.6 percent to 275.4 pence at 0817 GMT on the London Stock Exchange.

The group, whose pubs include Harvester, Toby Carvery and All Bar One, said total sales rose by 2.3 percent during the period with a like-for-like sales growth of 4.7 percent for the four weeks to Jan. 7, which includes the Christmas peak.

Mitchells & Butlers, which has been focusing on its food offerings, said like-for-like food sales grew by 2.8 percent during the 7 weeks to Jan. 7.

The firm has tried to improve profit by refurbishing its estate of over 1,700 sites, increasing marketing and targeting higher volumes of food sales with cheap deals, but increasing cost pressure has squeezed margins.

On Friday, the company reiterated its warning of a slide in margins, citing increased cost pressure.

The pub group’s strong portfolio of brands and formats includes Miller & Carter, Premium Country Pubs, Sizzling Pubs, Vintage Inns, Browns, Castle, Nicholson’s and others.

In addition, it operates Innkeeper’s Lodge hotels in the UK and Alex restaurants and bars in Germany.