Monday 11 December 2017

JD Wetherspoon plans up to 50 pubs here

JD Wetherspoons is hoping to crack the Irish market, where we drink 11.6 litres of alcohol per capita each year
JD Wetherspoons is hoping to crack the Irish market, where we drink 11.6 litres of alcohol per capita each year
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

UK pub group JD Wetherspoon is looking at opening as many as 50 pubs here over the next 10 years.

The group, which is due to open its first pub in Ireland this April, has posted strong second-quarter results, with like-for-like sales in the period jumping 6.7pc.

The company's chairman and founder, Tim Martin, also confirmed that he envisages opening between 30 and 50 pubs in Ireland in the next decade.

The chain's first premises in Ireland will open in Blackrock, Co Dublin. It has also acquired a premises in Cork. It's also due to open in the spring.

JD Wetherspoon had acquired a premises in Dublin in the middle of the last decade with a view to opening its first outlet, but retreated after being scared off by the high cost of doing business here.

It said that in the 12 weeks to January 19, total sales across its portfolio rose 10.6pc, while in the 25 weeks to January 19, like-for-like sales were 5.2pc higher and total sales were up 9pc.

But while shares in the group rose yesterday on the back of the better than expected performance, investor exuberance was tempered as the company said that its operating margin in the first half of its financial year will be around 8.1pc.

That's 0.2pc lower than in the corresponding period last year. It blamed increased investment in IT, training and additional operating personnel as among the reasons for the decline.

"The business is moving forward and whilst there are challenges we see room for positive surprises in the second half," said Peel Hunt analyst Nick Batram.

Irish Independent

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