Euro 2012 and Jubilee joy for Wetherspoons

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH pub operator JD Wetherspoon said yesterday cost pressures from government legislation would weigh this year on what has so far been a solid performance boosted by major events.

Wetherspoon, whose cut-price drinks and meal offers had made it one of the stronger performing pub chains through the economic downturn, said like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new pubs , for the 11 weeks to 8 July were up 6.1 per cent, driven by strong trading around the Jubilee celebrations and the Euro 2012 championship. Total sales increased by 11.9 per cent.

However the group said that its main challenge remained the continuing cost pressures from government legislation, which it cited as increases in excise duty, business rates and carbon tax.

“We expect to achieve a reasonable outcome for the current financial year,” the company said in a statement.

Since the start of the financial year, the company has opened 40 new pubs and closed three pubs.

JD Wetherspoon said its plans, disclosed at the start of the year, to open approximately 20 to 30 pubs in the next financial year remained on track.

In the year to date (50 weeks to 8 July 2012), like-for-like sales increased by three per cent, and overall company sales increased by 9.2 per cent.

JD Wetherspoon’s shares rose 3.8 per cent to 437.9p yesterday.