Economy boost for JD Wetherspoon
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has delivered “better-than-expected” revenues amid increasing optimism about the economy.
With like-for-like sales increasing 3.5% in the 11 weeks to 14 July, the company said it was now in place achieve a slightly better outcome for the financial year due to end this month. Shares in the company rose by more than 5% as a result of the news.
The 11-week period includes the beginning of April when figures were published showing that the UK had avoided a triple-dip recession as well as indicating that a recovery could be under way.
Wetherspoon’s chairman Tim Martin suggested relief about an end to the downturn could have helped the performance by driving customers into the chain’s pubs.
He said: “Possibly they are a bit more optimistic and celebrating the absence of Armageddon.”
Mr Martin also welcomed the reduction in beer duty announced in March’s budget. He added that gradual improvements in the business had been key in helping growth.
Wetherspoon’s said year-to-date like-for-like sales were up 6%. It is due to announce results for the year to July 28 in September.
The chairman also joked that consumers would be saying: “We’re going to push the boat out and go to Wetherspoon’s.”
Wetherspoon’s has more than 800 pubs and employs 23,000 staff. It said it had opened 29 new pubs and sold three since the start of the financial year, and intends to open 30 in the following 12-month period.