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Wetherspoon's non-smoking pubs prove successful

02 November 2006

Pub operator JD Wetherspoon has seen sales pick up at its non-smoking boozers, as the majority of those it has converted celebrate their first anniversary.

Wetherspoon has almost 100 non-smoking pubs in total, the majority of which are conversions with the reminder new openings that launched smoke-free.

In England and Wales, where the company operates 56 non-smoking pubs, like-for-like sales increased 11.8% in the 13 weeks ended 29 October.

On a two-year basis, which compares the pubs to a period prior to conversion to non-smoking, the like-for-like sales increase for the 13 weeks was positive at 2.2% growth.

Wetherspoon's 39 non-smoking pubs in Scotland made a strong start to the company's new financial year also with like-for-like sales up 5.2%.

John Hutson, chief executive of Wetherspoon, said: "The company has traded well in Q1. It may be too early to judge the longer term impact of non-smoking in Scotland and conditions may be more testing in the winter months."

At its full-year results in September this year the company said growth at non-smoking pubs had to date been largely flat, with the majority of those sites converted having, at best, only just recovered to the same trading levels achieved pre-ban.

Wetherspoon saw overall like-for-like-sales rise 9.2% despite increases in underlying costs such as labour and energy. This compared with a drop of 0.9% for the same period in the previous year.

Total sales at the company, which has ore than 650 pubs, increased 9.7% in the first quarter to £220.4m.

John Hutson profile >>

JD to invest £15m in beer chilling equipment >>

Wetherspoon U-turn over smoking >>

Sales fall at non-smoking pubs >>

By Emily Manson

E-mail your comments to Emily Manson](mailto:emily.manson@rbi.co.uk?subject=Wetherspoon's non-smoking pubs prove successful) here.

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