Wetherspoon costs increase

JD WETHERSPOON outpaced rival operators during Christmas, the pub chain reported yesterday, with like-for-like sales rising eight per cent over the festive period.

However, a surprising hit to profit margins spooked City investors. The company, which runs over 800 pubs, said margins were around 8.2 per cent, which is 1.1 percentage points lower than last year, due to increasing labour, tax and supply costs. This news sent shares in the company down almost three per cent yesterday.

The sales rise was more than double that of Spirit Pubs and Greene King, which announced trading figures earlier this week, and was an even bigger rise than that during the previous period, which saw a boost from the Olympics. The company expects to open 25 pubs this financial year.