Wetherspoon boss slams ‘hectoring and bullying' of EU leaders in Brexit negotations

02 November 2016 by
Wetherspoon boss slams ‘hectoring and bullying' of EU leaders in Brexit negotations

UK consumers may start to boycott European drink suppliers in response to the "hectoring and bullying" of European leaders with regards future trade deals in the light of Brexit.

This is the view of Tim Martin, chairman of pub giant Wetherspoon, who was speaking as the company published a trading update for the first quarter of its financial year.

Like-for-like sales and total sales for the group during the 13 weeks to 23 October 2016 increased by 3.5% and 2.3% respectively. However, the level of like-for-like sales reduced to 2.3% in the last five weeks of the period.

Meanwhile, the operating margin, excluding property gains, was 8.6%, compared with 5.8% in the same 13 weeks last year. The company currently anticipates an operating margin of around 7% for the current financial year.

Martin said that the UK is faced with the threat arising from Angela Merkel of Germany and François Hollande of France supporting the stance of "the unelected EU ‘President' Juncker in stating that the ‘UK must pay a price'".

"According to press reports, Juncker told European business leaders, in October, not to negotiate with UK companies and to adopt an ‘intransigent'" attitude. This suggested approach puts an unfair burden on the excellent European suppliers with which UK companies, like Wetherspoon, have traded for many decades.

"For example, Wetherspoon normally agrees on trade deals with suppliers for three to 10 years. If we, and companies like ours, are unable to agree on tariff-free transactions, it will inevitably result in a loss of business for European companies which have done nothing to deserve this outcome. Indeed, the ultimate sanction will be in the hands of UK consumers, should they take offence at the hectoring and bullying approach of Juncker and co. French wine, Champagne and spirits, German beer and Swedish cider, for example, are all at extreme risk."

Wetherspoon has opened one new pub since the start of the financial year and has sold nine, and intends to open about 15 pubs during the course of the year. Although the company expects to face higher costs with regards wages, business rates and repairs, it plans to increase the level of capital investment in existing pubs from £34m in 2015/6 to around £60m in the current year.

JD Wetherspoon to open 50-100 more hotels >>

JD Wetherspoon announces record sales in preliminary results >>

JD Wetherspoon set to open two new hotels and eight pubs >>

Latest video from The Caterer

Are you looking for a new role? See all the current hospitality vacancies available with The Caterer Jobs >>

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.


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