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Wetherspoon's Tim Martin attacks ‘budget for dinner parties' after revealing 43% profit rise

10 March 2017 by

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin described this week's budget as one for "dinner parties" rather than the on-trade, as the pub group revealed like-for-like sales growth of 3.3%.

Martin used Wetherspoon's results for the half-year to 22 January 2017 to attack the "continuing tax disparity between supermarkets and pubs, in respect of VAT and business rates".

He said that companies like Wetherspoon would not be eligible for the £1,000 per annum decrease in business rates, adding that business rates would instead increase by £7m.

Martin said: "Wednesday's budget will weigh far more heavily on pubs than supermarkets, especially since wage costs per pint or meal are approximately 10 times higher in pubs.

"The chancellor was less than frank in his budget speech, since he did not spell out the duty increases, giving the impression to many that there would be no increase.

Revenue at the pub group was up 1.4% at £801m for the 26 weeks, while profit before tax was up 43% at £51m.

However, Martin warned that the figures were unlikely to be repeated in the second half of the financial year.

He said: "As outlined above, the company also anticipates significantly higher costs in the second half of the financial year. In view of these additional costs and our expectation that 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 modestly better than expected year-to-date sales, we currently anticipate a slightly improved trading outcome for the current financial year, compared with our expectations at the last update."

J D Wetherspoon reports 3.2% increase in sales >>

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

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