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Wetherspoon reverses fall in like-for-like sales

19 January 2005 by

Pub operator JD Wetherspoon has reversed the first-quarter decline in its like-for-like sales despite continued pressure from higher costs and price competition.

In the 12 weeks to 16 January the group lifted like-for-like sales by 0.9%, following a 0.3% fall in the first three months of its financial year.

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Wetherspoon: improving sales
As a result, like-for-like sales in the 25 weeks to 16 January were 0.3% ahead, while overall turnover grew by 3.8%. Rising costs for utilities, distribution, repairs and wages have hit Wetherspoon's operating margins, but the group said that cash flow was "strongly positive". Despite the competitive nature of the market, Wetherspoon remained confident of its future prospects. The group has opened six new pubs over the first 24 weeks of its financial year, and expects to open another nine before the year-end. It has earmarked an equal number (15) for potential disposal but anticipates a loss on the sale. by Angela Frewin Buy this week's *Caterer* magazine for more industry news and analysis
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