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JD Wetherspoon calls for tax change

On the day that pub chain JD Wetherspoon reported a like-for-like sales drop, its chairman has called for supermarket alcohol to be taxed at the same rate as pubs.

JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin (Photo: Wiki)

The forthright boss of the Wetherspoon chain, Tim Martin, also warned of more pub closures should the UK economy slow down.

The comments came as the company announced a slowdown in like-for-like sales. For the first 12 weeks of the second quarter like for likes increased by 2.8%, but there was a slowdown to 2% in December and in the last fortnight there has been a further decline, according to The Guardian. 

He is quoted saying, “Wetherspoon has had significantly better sales growth in the last couple of years than our main competitors, reflecting a pattern that has continued since our flotation.

“Even Wetherspoon, however, has seen flat bar sales in the last two months, when food sales have continued to rise. Inevitably bar sales in the industry as a whole, especially where pubs have not benefited from Wetherspoon’s level of investment, will have fared less well.

“This situation reflects the dire need for the pub industry to campaign for equal tax treatment for pubs and supermarkets. It is certain that the current wave of pub closures, which continues at a high level, will accelerate when economic growth slows or reverses.”

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