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Rising costs hit Wetherspoon pubs

01 November 2004
Rising costs hit Wetherspoon pubs

Stiff price competition and rising costs knocked like-for-like sales at JD Wetherspoon in the first three months of its new financial year, the pub company said today.

Like-for-like sales declined by 0.3% in the 13 weeks to 24 October, although overall sales grew by 3% to £200.5m.

The company pointed the finger of blame firmly at "price competition", which it said remained "considerable", and the rising cost of labour and utilities.

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"Our net operating margins have been affected by these conditions and were approximately two percentage points lower for the three-month period compared to the same period last year," it said in a trading statement. But it also bullishly pointed out that, while margins were suffering, sales volumes were at their highest-ever level. Wetherspoon expects to announce half-year results in early March next year. by Nic Paton Buy this week's *Caterer* magazine for more industry news and analysis
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