JD Wetherspoon to open 40-50 pubs this year

14 March 2014 by
JD Wetherspoon to open 40-50 pubs this year

Pub company JD Wetherspoon is to spend £80m to £100m developing and opening 40-50 new pubs in its current financial year (ending June 2014).

Meanwhile, the managed pub giant, which has more than 800 sites, is expected to open another 30-40 sites next year.

JD Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson revealed the news as the company unveiled a 5.2% increase in like-for-like sales in its interim results today.

Revenue was up 9.1% to £683.2m for the 26 weeks to 26 January 2014, while operating profit rose by 7% to £55.7m.

The like-for-like sales increase was driven by food sales, which were up by 10.5% and bar sales, up by 3.6%. Machine sales were down 9.5%, in part due to the introduction of machine gaming duty in February 2013.

Average sales per pub week increased to their highest-ever level at £35,300 (inc VAT) during the period, while pub profit margins excluding repairs hit 19.9%.

Meanwhile, in the six weeks to 9 March 2014, like-for-like sales increased by 6.7%, with total sales increasing by 11.6%.

And Hutson added that the company's first-ever pub at a motorway service station, the Hope and Champion at junction two of the M40 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, was trading well.

The proportion of food sold at the pub is, perhaps predictably, reported to be far higher than the average Wetherspoon pub, accounting for between two thirds and three quarters of sales. Alcohol sales account for 10%-20%, according to Hutson, far lower than the average level of bar sales for the Wetherspoon estate, which stood at 61.6% in 2014.

J D Wetherspoon achieve 5.2% rise in like-for-like sales >>

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