JD Wetherspoon boss issues inflation warning as operating costs rise £70m

24 March 2023 by
JD Wetherspoon boss issues inflation warning as operating costs rise £70m

JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has warned pubs are still struggling with "ferocious" inflationary pressures around energy, food, and staffing.

The pub group, which runs over 840 UK sites, saw its operating costs rise £73m to £878.5m in the six months to 29 January.

The chain reported a pre-tax profit of £4.6m in its half-year results, down 90% on 2019 levels.

However, the figures put Wetherspoon back in the black after it reported a £26.1m loss during the same period in 2022.

Martin said he was "cautiously optimistic" about the future with like-for-like sales up 5% and revenue rising 3% to £916m.

He added: "As reported last year, the company has a full complement of staff, although the labour market is competitive, with unemployment, in spite of economic problems, at approximately its lowest level in the last 50 or so years.

"Supply or delivery issues have largely disappeared, for now, and were probably a phenomenon of the stresses induced by the worldwide reopening after the pandemic, rather than a consequence of Brexit, as many commentators have argued.

"Inflationary pressures in the pub industry, as many companies have said, have been ferocious, particularly in respect of energy, food and labour. The Bank of England, and other authorities, believe that inflation is on the wane, which will certainly be of great benefit, if correct."

Wetherspoon put 39 pubs on the market at the end of last year and sold or closed 10 during the six months to 29 January.

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