Adjusted profit before tax at Greene King rose 1.6% to £246.9m in the year to April 28, the company has reported. Revenue rose 1.8% to £2,216.9m.

Chief executive, Nick Mackenzie, said: “Just two months into the job, I have been struck by the amazing pride and passion that our team members have for Greene King, and I want to thank them for their continued dedication to providing great experiences for our customers and supporting local communities.

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“The business delivered good results last year, regaining trading momentum in pub company and returning to market outperformance, while fulfilling a strong cost mitigation programme and making further progress refinancing the Spirit debenture.

“The existing strategy we have in place has led the business through challenging times. I am looking forward to building on Greene King’s strong foundations with a focus on innovation, on developing our people, and on customer service, to further enhance our brands and deliver sustainable growth for our shareholders.”

Fiona Cincota, a senior market analyst at www.cityindex.co.uk, commented: “Greene King’s earnings have met the top end of its guidance range, but the coming year is set to be a more testing one for the pub company and its new chief executive, Nick Mackenzie.

“The new year has already gotten off to a shaky start, with a deluge of rain discouraging punters from making a trip to the pub, though the weather has shown signs of hotting up in recent days.

“Even if the sun shines for the rest of the summer, there will be no football World Cup to boost sales this year, leaving Greene King more exposed to the drag on consumer confidence created by Brexit uncertainty.

“Consumer tastes are changing, with young people in particular seeking out healthier food and beverage options than the heavy ales and stodgy grub traditionally associated with British pubs. Greene King is now offering healthier options and more premium spirits, like gin, though the perception challenge remains.”

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