UK regional brewer Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries today (29 March) said that trading for the first 24 weeks of its financial year had been "satisfactory" and "in line with expectations".

W&D, which owns a beer stable including Marston's Pedigree and Banks's, said in a trading update that like-for-like sales from its Pathfinder and Union Pub Company estates were up 1% on the year.

The company said its operating margin was above last year's level despite higher energy prices and the impact of a rise in the minimum wage in the UK.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: "We remain cautious about the outlook for consumer spending, and anticipate that legislative and cost pressures will continue.

"However, we have one of the highest quality estates in the industry and a range of great value offers. As a result, we are continuing to make good progress."

W&D said yesterday that its pre-tax profits for the year to 1 October 2005 rose by GBP6.3m (US$11m) when restated under International Financial Reporting Standards.