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Wetherspoon's pre-tax profits up 20.6% but boss predicts slower growth

16 March 2018 by
Wetherspoon's pre-tax profits up 20.6% but boss predicts slower growth

JD Wetherspoon has revealed that pre-tax profits increased by 20.6% in the 26 weeks to 28 January 2018, but warned that slower sales growth is expected.

Revenue was up 3.6% to £830.4m in the period with like-for-like sales up 6.1%.

But in the six weeks to 11 March 2018, like-for-like sales growth fell to 3.8% and the company has said it expects it to fall further in the next six months.

The pub boss said he did not know exactly what had caused the jump adding: "We seem to have lately become fashionable, we're used to being unfashionable."

Outlining expectations for the rest of the year Martin said: "The company anticipates higher costs in the second half of the financial year, in areas including pay, taxes and utilities. In view of these additional costs, and our expectation that growth in like-for-like sales will be lower in the next six months, the company remains cautious about the second half of the year. Nevertheless, as a result of slightly better than expected year-to-date sales, we currently anticipate an unchanged trading outcome for the current financial year."

Martin said Wetherspoon has slowed down its rate of openings and ruled out making the leap overseas, aside from the Republic of Ireland.

He is also in no rush to expand the company's portfolio of 55 hotels adding: "We're feeling our way. A lot of people are building hotels, there are a lot of rooms opening up. It's relatively new for us on any sort of scale, the most is 50 rooms and a lot are smaller. We are just seeing how it goes trying not to make a mistake, a few more in the pipeline."

Martin has also today repeated predictions that Brexit will create a more competitive marketplace, dismissing forecasts of food price increases.

He said: "The EU is a protectionist organisation which imposes high taxes on food, clothing, wine and thousands of other items from non-EU countries - which comprise around 93% of the world's population. Like Monty Python's Dennis Moore, the EU ‘steals from the poor and gives to the rich'.

"In fact, MPs have the power to eliminate these import taxes in March 2019, thereby reducing prices for the public, just as their predecessors achieved the same objective by repealing the Corn Laws almost two centuries ago."

'A no deal Brexit will see a fall in food prices' JD Wetherspoon boss claims>>

JD Wetherspoon: There is no Brexit 'cliff edge'>>

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