JD Wetherspoon expecting weaker year of sales as chairman reiterates Brexit plea

PUBLISHED: 09:30 07 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:25 07 November 2018

The JD Wetherspoon Queen of Iceni on Riverside in Norwich. Picture: James Bass

The JD Wetherspoon Queen of Iceni on Riverside in Norwich. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic© 2007

Pub group JD Wetherspoon expects annual results to be weaker than last year, despite sales growing “strongly”.

In a trading update for the 13 weeks to October 28, the chain said sales increased by 5.5%, and total sales were up 6.2%.

Despite this, chairman Tim Martin said the company was dealing with tough comparatives, having delivered several years of record profits.

“It is difficult to be too precise at this early stage of the current financial year, but we now expect a trading outcome slightly below that achieved in the previous financial year,” he said

“We will provide further updates on our trading as we progress through the year.”

Mr Martin reiterated his belief that the UK should adopt free trade after Brexit.

Shares in Wetherspoon’s dropped by 5% in early trading.

The company has opened two new pubs in the first quarter and has closed or sold three.

It guided new openings of between five and 10 pubs in the current financial year.

The group also said on Tuesday that it is increasing staff wages in response to record low levels of unemployment.

“Having had several recent years of record profits, we are not immediately seeking to recoup these increased costs through higher pricing or ‘mitigation’, but will review that during the year,” said Mr Martin.

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