Shares in Mitchells & Butlers were up on the FTSE 250 in afternoon trading after the pub-chain owner reported a rise in full year sales as well as a strong start to the New Year, despite the heavy snow in December.

In the full year to 25 September 2010 total group like for like sales increased 2.8 per cent, with sales of food growing 4.7 per cent and drink sales climbing 1.4 per cent.

Following the full year period Mitchells & Butlers said that in the 17 weeks since 25 September total group like for like sales rose 3.1 per cent. Food again led the way, with sales up 6.1 per cent, and drink sales rising 0.9 per cent.

In October and November last year Mitchells & Butlers sold 333 of its pubs to Stonegate Pub Company, cutting group net debt to around two billion pounds. The group also acquired 22 Ha Ha Bar & Grill sites and said it planned to open 50 new Harvester outlets following "encouraging signs" from two outlets located on retail parks.

The group said that while it was performing well it was "cautious" about the future due to concerns about levels of consumer disposable income and rising input costs.

Adam Fowle Chief Executive of Mitchells & Butlers, said, "This is a very good start to the year with like-for-like food sales up 6% helped by a strong Christmas performance. These trading results, together with the encouraging performance from the two new Harvester retail park sites and the improving new openings pipeline, show that we are on track to implement our growth strategy and indicate the future potential within the business."

By 14:10 shares in Mitchells & Butlers were up 4.46 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 358.10 pence per share.