* Q1 like-for-like sales up 7.1 pct, total sales up 11.1 pct
* Does not expect level of sales growth to be sustained
* Operating margin 8.6 pct, down 0.4 point
LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - British pubs group JD Wetherspoon posted a 7.1 percent rise in underlying quarterly sales, boosted by the Olympics and Paralympic Games, and said that growth rate would not be sustained over the full year.
Wetherspoon, which has more than 800 pubs across Britain, said the rise in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to Oct. 28 - its first quarter, compared with a 1.1 percent rise in the 2011 period. Total sales rose 11.1 percent.
The company said its operating margin was 8.6 percent, down 0.4 percentage point because of higher costs combined with increased marketing expenses.
Wetherspoon, which posted a 6 percent rise in full-year 2011/12 profit in September, has been one of the better performing pub companies throughout the downturn because of its value-for-money offers.
Shares in FTSE 250-listed Wetherspoon, which reiterated its aim for a “reasonable outcome” for the year, closed at 512.5 pence on Wednesday, valuing it at 646 million pounds ($1.03 billion).