Young & Co's Brewery, the UK brewer and pub owner, has reported a lift in half-year sales with a "solid" performance by its beer division in a difficult market.

Net sales for the six months to 26 September rose by 1.5% to GBP67.2m (US$112.3m), compared to GBP66.2m in the same period of last year, said Young's today (19 November).

Adjusted pre-tax profits for the half-year increased 3.7% on the year before, to GBP12.3m.

"Young's has turned in a good performance in a period that has seen many challenges for the pub industry," said group CEO Stephen Goodyear.

Around 50 pubs are closing down every week in the UK and beer sales are at their lowest since the 1930s, according to industry figures.

Young's brewing business with Charles Wells, Wells and Young's, reported half-year sales up 1%. Young's owns 40% of the business.

In its outlook, Young's said it expects trading to remain challenging for the rest of its financial year.

But, Goodyear said the firm has "one of the strongest balance sheets amongst the quoted pub companies". He added: "We are therefore well positioned to expand our estate through acquisition as the right value enhancing opportunities become available."

Earlier this week, Enterprise Inns, one of the largest UK pub groups, reported a slump in full-year profits.

For the full Young's announcement, click here.