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JD Wetherspoon warns of cost pressures ahead as it reports sales increase

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JD Wetherspoon warns of cost pressures ahead as it reports sales increase

JD Wetherspoon has reported that like-for-like sales increased by 5.2 % in the 10 weeks to 8 July but warned that considerable cost increases are expected next year.

The company said business rates, the sugar tax, utility taxes and wage increases are expected to take their toll.

JD Wetherspoon did not mention the impact of England’s World Cup campaign in its trading update, and like-for-like sales for the year to 8 July were also 5.2%.

The group has opened six new pubs since the start of the financial year and closed 23, with no further openings planned this year

These pub disposals are expected to see exceptional non-cash losses of £9m.

Chairman Tim Martin said JD Wetherspoon was continuing to drive forward plans to replace drinks with alternatives not imported from the EU as he criticised prime minister Theresa May’s approach to Brexit negotiations.

He said: “Wetherspoon has started to review its product range and has exchanged French Champagne for sparkling wine from the UK and Australia, and German wheat beer for UK and American alternatives. The new products are now available, at reduced prices, in our pubs. We plan further initiatives in this area in the coming months.

“Huge progress has been made in leaving the EU: the referendum has taken place; the manifestos of the main parties, respecting the result, were endorsed in the general election; Article 50 was triggered and the sensible decision was taken to allow legal EU migrants to stay post-Brexit.

“Unsurprisingly, the prime minister has run into difficulties by making the mistake of prioritising a “deal” with the unelected EU representatives, which they have little incentive to accommodate, rather than a sensible implementation of Brexit in areas under the control of parliament.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the benefits of leaving the EU, including the avoidance of vast financial contributions, the elimination of tariffs and the reacquisition of fishing rights, need no agreement from any third party. The prime minister can avoid most current problems by prioritising these areas.”

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