Pub firm JD Wetherspoon could open as many as 100 hotels attached to its pubs over the next three to 10 years.
Wetherspoon's chairman and founder Tim Martin (pictured) revealed that the business was considering 50 to 100 new hotel openings in three to 10 years, up from the 46 hotels it currently owns.
He made the comments as Wetherspoon revealed a 5.4% increase in revenue to £1.595b in its preliminary results for the 52 weeks to 24 July 2016.
The company has also seen a 3.4% increase in like-for-like sales and a 3.6% increase in profit before tax to £80.6m, all before exceptional items.
Commenting on plans to expand the hotels side of the business, Martin said his company planned a flexible response.
"We have got quite a few now above existing pubs which were already doing well. In Barrow in Furness we have a 50-room hotel and the hotel has done well and the pub has done even better," he said.
"What we think we will do is 50-100 over the next three to 10 years around the country above good pubs. I think that will help us because we will have a small national chain. There are businesses that use those hotels a lot and if we can offer some sort of national coverage then it would probably be attractive to them."
On the same day that Wetherspoon released its financial results, Martin, a prominent Leave campaigner, took the opportunity in his accompanying chairman's statement to lambast the "lurid" warnings made by the establishment about the consequences of Brexit.
"In the run up to, and the aftermath of, the recent referendum, the overwhelming majority of FTSE 100 companies, the employers' organisation CBI, the IMF, the OECD, the Treasury, the leaders of all the main political parties and almost all representatives of British universities forecast trouble, often in lurid terms, for the economy, in the event of the Leave vote. For example, claims were made by David Cameron and George Osborne that family income would eventually be reduced by £4,000 per annum, that mortgage interest rates would increase and that house prices would fall - claims which were supported, in terms, by Mark Carney of the Bank of England," he said.
"Now that the gloomy economic forecasts for the immediate aftermath of the referendum have been proven to be false, 'Scare Story 2' is that failure to agree on a trade deal with the EU will have devastating consequences. This was articulated by fund manager Nicola Horlick this week, who told Radio 4 listeners that leaving the single market would relegate the UK from the fifth-biggest economy in the world to the 8th or 9th. In contrast, Wetherspoon's experience indicates that reaching formal trade deals with reluctant counterparties is impossible - and it is unwise to try."
When asked about his campaigning for Brexit and what customers thought of it, Martin said: "A lot of people wouldn't say anything because they were worried it would peeve off half their customers. But I have been peeving off my customers for years so I could afford to take a bigger risk," he joked.
And his next target would be a reduction in VAT for hospitality businesses: "VAT equality for pubs, restaurants and so on would be a benefit for us but mainly a benefit for the nation because they would get more tax and more jobs in less well-off areas," he said.
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