Wetherspoon in ‘reasonable' half year but warns Government over high tax burden
Tim Martin (pictured), chairman of the pub chain JD Wetherspoon has repeated his concerns about high taxes, as he hailed a "reasonable" performance in the 26 weeks to 22 January 2012.
The company saw revenue climb 8.4% to £569.4m for the period, while pre-tax profit rose 11.1% to £35.8m.
Despite that, Martin warned that the company's trading since its 18 January 2012 pre-close statement had been "disappointing", with like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 4 March down by 0.7% and total sales increasing by 6.1%.
He added that he expected operating profit margin before exceptionals to decline in the second half of the financial year due to continuing cost increases, with the current quarter particularly affected.
The company highlighted its high tax burden. It paid £250.1m in taxes over the period, equivalent to 43.9%. In the same period last year it paid £225.7m, which was 43% of sales.
JD Wetherspoon had 841 pubs by 22 January, having opened 20 and closed two. It announced that it would spend the next few months reviewing its plans for openings in future financial years, taking into account its concerns for the tax regime.
By Neil Gerrard
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