Monday 14 October 2019

Wetherspoon profits knocked as costs spiral

Chairman Tim Martin said that revenue rose 7.1% to £889.6 million.

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin (PA)
JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin (PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Profits at JD Wetherspoon tumbled in the first half of the year as rising sales failed to offset an increase in costs at the pub group.

Pre-tax profits in the six months to January 27 fell 18.9% to £50.3 million as costs rocketed, especially labour, which increased by about £33 million.

However, revenue rose 7.1% to £889.6 million and like-for-like sales were up 6.3% in the period.

Chairman Tim Martin warned that costs would continue to rise in the second half.

He said: “As previously indicated, costs in the second half of the year will be higher than those of the same period last year.

“The company anticipates an unchanged trading outcome for the current financial year.”

He added that in the six weeks to March 10, like-for-like sales increased by 9.6% and total revenue jumped 10.9%, helped by good weather and favourable comparables.

In the first half of the year, the firm opened two new pubs and closed six, bringing its total estate to 879.

Brexit-backing Mr Martin also used the update to wade into politics.

“Previous referendum results on major constitutional issues have always been respected in the UK, but if parliament votes either for Theresa May’s ‘deal’ (which keeps us in the EU by the back door) or to remain in the EU, the referendum result will not have been respected.

“This may well have significantly adverse economic consequences, as the country turns in on itself to endure months, or years, of stifling constitutional argument.”

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