Wetherspoon sales edge up

Pubs firm 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.

Wetherspoon on Wednesday 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 pub companies in recent years 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.

The company added that it continued to face rising costs for a wide range of goods and services, as well as a reduction in disposable income for many of its customers.

The group, which has opened 38 pubs this year and made two disposals, said it expects to have opened 50 pubs in the current financial year.