Punch Taverns has said that its demerger is on-track and has reported drinks and food sales rises at its managed pubs for the group's fiscal third quarter.

Like-for-like sales in the firm's managed pub business, Spirit, rose by 7.3% for the 12 weeks to 28 May, Punch Taverns said today (8 June).

Drinks sales rose by 7.3% and food sales by 8.4% on the same period last year, in a sign that a spate of good weather in the period may have helped to relieve some of the financial pressure on the UK on-trade.

Punch said that its whole business improved during the period. It added that its planned demerger of Spirit and its leased pub division is on-track. "We continue to make good progress on the demerger, which we expect to complete by the end of the summer," it said.

However, while sales have picked up at the group's managed pubs, profits at its leased pub business remain under pressure. Like-for-like net income at its Punch division fell by 3.3% for the quarter, although average net income per pub increased by 1.3%.

"Despite the challenging UK consumer environment, we are on-track to meet our full-year expectations," said Punch Taverns' CEO, Ian Dyson.

In addition to the demerger, the group plans to sell off half of its leased pub estate over the next six years.