Tim Martin says Wetherspoon's is "ready to leave the EU" as sales outperform the pubs market

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Wetherspoon's sales were above the market (Source: Getty)

Pub chain J.D. Wetherspoon outperformed the market this morning as it revealed higher sales in a first quarter trading update.

Like-for-like sales were up 6.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to the end of October. This was in a market where, according to the most recent Coffer Peach Business Tracker, pubs in the UK saw one per cent like-for-like sales growth in September.

Total sales were up 4.3 per cent in the period, while underlying operating margin sat at 8.6 per cent.

Chairman and founder Tim Martin said that the costs of operating the business had been significantly higher than last year. He added that further increases are expected in areas including labour, business rates, utilities and sugar taxes.

But Martin was adamant that further savings could be made if the UK decides to adopt unilateral free trade and reverts to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit.

Building on arguments he has made previously, Martin said: "There is no cliff edge. Wetherspoon, for example, is ready now to leave the EU, since almost no preparation is required - as is almost certainly the case for Sainsbury's and Whitbread, and the vast majority of companies."

Read more: Pub industry rallies around Wetherspoon's call to lower tax burden