Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has reported pre-tax losses of £34.1m in its preliminary financial results, while chairman Tim Martin said recent changes in regulations mean the outlook for pubs over the remainder of the current financial year "is even more unpredictable".
For the 52 weeks ended 26 July 2020, the group reported like-for-like sales down 29.5% and revenue of £1.26b, down from £1.82b last year (before exceptional items and pre-IFRS 16). The pre-tax loss figure of £34.1m compares starkly with last year's £102.5m profit.
Martin accused the government of introducing "ill-thought-out regulations" that are "extraordinarily difficult for the public and publicans to understand and to implement", and none of which, he said, "appears to have any obvious basis in science".
The most damaging, he said, were the 10pm curfew and table service restrictions, which he said had not only been "particularly damaging for trade" but "substantially increasing costs".
He added: "The company and the entire hospitality industry need a more sensible and consistent regulatory framework in which to operate – the current environment of lockdowns, curfews and constantly changing regulations and announcements threatens not only pub companies, but the entire economy."