Competition puts brake on expansion at Wetherspoons
Pub company JD Wetherspoon will opt for caution over valour in the coming year, as conditions in the industry become tougher.
Speaking at the company's full-year results, chief executive officer John Hutson said trading remained tough, with extreme competition and increasing political pressure over binge-drinking denting business.
As a result, the pub chain will open just 15 pubs in the coming year, funding all new sites from cash within the business. The chain has 643 pubs in the UK.
Turnover for the full year to 25 July 2004 was up 8% at a record high of £787.1m (£730.9m), but pre-tax profit fell to £46.3m (£52.5m). This included a £2.5m loss on the sale of 20 pubs.
The company also blamed competition from supermarkets, whose share of alcohol sales peaked at a record 40% in the summer during the European football championships.