JD Wetherspoon reports rise in like-for-like sales but warns of tough trading ahead

14 September 2012 by
JD Wetherspoon reports rise in like-for-like sales but warns of tough trading ahead

The London 2012 Olympic Games boosted revenue at pub operator JD Wetherspoon, which reported "record sales" in its preliminary full-year results.

Like-for-like sales at the 860-strong group of mainly town-centre pubs jumped 8.4% in the six weeks to 9 September, helped by each operation screening both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Total sales were up 12.8%, compared with 6.1% growth for the 11 weeks to 8 July.

The company warned that the strong performance as a result of one-off events was unsustainable, as taxation and input costs were expected to rise and forecast a "reasonable outcome" for this financial year.

The update came as Wetherspoon's reported an 11.7% rise in revenues to £1.2b in the 53 weeks to 29 July and a 4.1% drop in pre-tax profits to £58.9m.

The Watford-based firm opened 40 pubs in the same period, 18 of which were freehold, and closed three.

The average development cost for a new pub, excluding the cost of freeholds, in the financial year under review was £1.4m, compared with £1.2m a year ago.

Wetherspoon's said it intended to open about 25 pubs in the year ending July 2013.

Tim Martin (pictured), founder and chairman of Wetherspoon's, reiterated his warning over the difference in VAT between supermarkets and pubs and other rising taxes.

He said: "The biggest dangers to the pub industry are the VAT disparity between supermarkets and pubs, combined with the continuing imposition of stealth taxes, such as the late-night levy and the increase in fruit and slot machine taxes."

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By Janie Manzoori-Stamford

E-mail your comments to Janie Manzoori-Stamford


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