The Caterer
Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

JD Wetherspoon in U-turn over smoking

03 March 2006

JD Wetherspoon has done a U-turn on smoking, announcing it will wait for the official smoking ban in England before going smoke free at any more sites.

Wetherspoon currently has 49 non-smoking pubs, 37 of which have been converted and the remainder opened as smoke free.

It had said in March 2005 that it would convert 10% of its pubs, around 65 sites, to non-smoking by May of that year with the remainder of the estate to follow by May 2006.

However, the increased food take at non-smoking pubs has failed to offset falls in alcohol and fruit machine sales, with like-for-like sales dropping 7.6% at converted premises in the quarter ended 22 January 2006.

Company chairman Tim Martin said: "Given the government's decision to bring forward a complete national smoking ban by 18 months to the middle of 2007, and the initial financial performance described in these results], we have decided to await the complete ban."

Martin added that a smoking ban in England would likely depress sales further, but that sales and margins would recover once customers adjusted.

In the six months to 22 January 2006 pre-tax profit jumped 21% to £27.4m (2005: £22.6m) thanks to lower head office costs and improved pub profits.

Turnover was up 1% to £406.3m (2005: £403.3m), although like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of new openings, fell 0.3%.

Like-for-like sales in February 2006 increased by 1.9%, but Wetherspoon said the imminent introduction of a smoking ban in Scotland and the impact of this summer's World Cup, meant it was cautious about its prospects in the second half of the year.

By Chris Druce

Get your copy of Caterer and Hotelkeeper every week -

[Sudoku Join the craze and play Sudoku online!
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.

close

Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking