Rugby World Cup leads to ‘slightly higher' sales at JD Wetherspoon

04 November 2015 by
Rugby World Cup leads to ‘slightly higher' sales at JD Wetherspoon

The Rugby World Cup led to "slightly higher" sales for pub giant JD Wetherspoon, according to a trading update from the firm.

JD Wetherspoon saw like-for-like sales for the 13 weeks to 25 October 2015 increase by 2.4% and total sales increase by 6.1%. Sales in the last six weeks of the period, which coincided with the rugby tournament, were slightly higher.

Operating margin for the 13-week period was 6.2% compared with 7.7% in the same period the year before.

The firm said the lower margin was due to increases in the starting rates for hourly paid staff in October 2014 and August 2015, which totalled approximately 13%.

JD Wetherspoon plans to open 15 pubs in the current financial year. So far it has opened three and sold one. The business has already put 20 leasehold pubs up for sale and is now considering a "small number" of freehold sales.

Chairman of Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, said: "As we indicated in September, it is difficult to quantify exactly the factors which will influence our trading performance in the early stages of a financial year.

"Increased labour costs are clearly an important factor for all pub and restaurant companies and may result in our annual profits being slightly lower than the last financial year. We will provide updates in our regular statements."

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