JD WETHERSPOON reported higher fourth-quarter sales and said an encouraging performance from its recently opened pubs should help it achieve a reasonable full-year outcome, despite rising costs and weaker consumer confidence.
The pub company said its like-for-like sales for the 11 weeks to 10 July were 1.6 per cent up, with year to date sales up 2.2 per cent.
It said it expected its operating margin for the second half to be around 9.5 per cent – up from 9.4 per cent at the half-year. Wetherspoon has bucked the trend of declining sales among pubs recently with value-for-money offers such as beer-and-a-curry for under £5 and a pint of bitter for £1.70 proving popular with cash-strapped Britons.
But the company added that it continued to face rising costs for a wide range of goods and services and a tough trading environment.
The group, which has opened 38 pubs this year and made two disposals, said it expects to open 50 pubs in the current financial year.
Shares in Wetherspoon, which have risen six per cent in the last three months, closed at 437.1p, valuing the business at around £582m.
City A.M. Reporter