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City Pub Group says recent trading strong, making up for snow affected weeks in early March

The pubs operator – which listed on AIM late last year - said its total sales for the first 18 weeks of the financial year were up 23%

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The group said that since its listing at the end of November, the number of trading pubs has increased to 36 from 33

The City Pub Group PLC (LON:CPC) saw its shares rise by nearly 4% on Monday after the firm said it has seen recent strong trading, which has made up for snow affected weeks in early March, and it is well-placed to meet full-year expectations.

In a trading update ahead of today’s annual general meeting, the pubs operator – which listed on AIM late last year  - said its total sales for the first 18 weeks of the financial year were up 23%.

READ: The City Pub Group hikes final dividend in full-year results as LFL sales rise

The group said that since its listing at the end of November, the number of trading pubs has increased to 36 from 33 and the size of the Group's estate - once exchanged pubs are completed and development pubs are opened - will have increased from 34 to 44.

The firm added that it has exchanged on two trading pubs in London, which are expected to complete and be open for trading by the end of June 2018.

City Pubs also said it is currently in the process of investing in and developing six sites in total - Aragon House in Parsons Green, the Old Ticket Office in Cambridge, pubs in Cardiff and Reading and, other recently acquired pubs in Oxford and Cambridge.

Clive Watson, City Pubs’ executive chairman, said: "We are pleased that recent trading has bounced back strongly following some tough weeks during the inclement weather earlier this year.”

He added: “We are excited by our new opening pipeline and with the development of those acquired.

“The strength of our balance sheet enables us to purchase development sites or trading sites, whichever delivers long-term value for the Group. More pubs are currently being appraised and we envisage our pipeline expanding further this year.”

Exciting events to come

The CEO concluded: “Whilst still early in the year and with exciting events to come such as the World Cup, where we should trade well, we are well placed to meet expectations for the year."

In a note to clients, analysts at Liberum Capital said: “We recently upgraded our earnings forecasts by 2%-3% for FY18E and FY19E and today's update further underpins our confidence, putting the company well on track to achieve the ambition of doubling in size over the next 3-4 years.”

Liberum repeated a ‘buy’ rating and 210p price target on City Pub shares.

In early morning trading, the stock was up 3.9% at 212.5p.

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