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Sales fall at Wetherspoon's no-smoking pubs

12 January 2006 by

Increased food sales at no-smoking JD Wetherspoon pubs have failed to offset lost drink and fruit machine revenues, the company said today in a trading statement.

Wetherspoon's, which said like-for-like sales in its no-smoking pubs had dropped 7.3% in the first quarter of last year, added that the trend had continued in its second quarter.

Wetherspoon's is carrying out a review of its 49 no-smoking pubs and its policy on smoking. It will announce the findings at its interim results on 3 March.

In the 11 weeks to 8 January, the company halted the 0.9% decline of its first quarter, with like-for-like sales up 0.3%.

For the year to date, like-for-like sales have declined 0.3%, with company sales up 0.9%.

Wetherspoon's said it had made progress in tackling its costs and operating and pre-tax profit for the first half of the year would be "materially" higher than a year ago.

However, the company warned trading conditions remained tough and the double whammy of the Scottish smoking ban in March and the world cup in June and July - Wetherspoon's pubs traditionally do not have televisions - meant it remained cautious about its second-half performance.

By Chris Druce

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