Pub operator J D Wetherspoon gave an upbeat evaluation of its post-Brexit prospects on Friday, even as a trading update from rival Greene King cast a nervous eye towards Britain's impending departure from the European Union.
The rivals' share prices diverged after Wetherspoon announced better than expected results while Greene King warned of tougher trading conditions ahead, adding to the mixed messages on Britain's economic outlook since its EU referendum in June.
"I haven't seen a loss of confidence among customers. People in Britain are feeling good," Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin told Reuters after the company reported a 3.6 percent rise in pretax profit in the 52 weeks to July 24.
More pertinent to his post-Brexit assessment, however, was a 4.1 percent increase in sales since July 24, while Greene King said its like-for-like sales had grown 1.7 percent since the end of its financial year on May 1.
"While the broader implications remain unclear, a number of recent industry surveys have flagged risks to leisure spend and we are alert to a potentially tougher trading environment ahead," a Greene King statement said.
The company, which brews ales such as Old Speckled Hen, had cautioned in June that uncertainty arising from the Brexit vote would weigh on consumer sentiment.
Stifel analysts described Greene King's sales as "somewhat disappointing" because they implied that growth had slowed since the end of June.
Shares in Wetherspoon, which owns more than 950 pubs in Britain and Ireland, rose 6 percent to a record high in morning trade and were up 4.8 percent at 969 pence at 1111 GMT.
Greene King shares were down 4.5 percent at 803 pence.
"Wetherspoon probably outperformed Greene King because most of its growth is generally organic," said Investec analyst Karl Burns, citing the company's market position and the brand's reputation for value.
"Most of Greene King's growth is capex driven, so it takes time to come through", he added.
(Editing by David Goodman)