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Wetherspoon reports 'resilient' sales

By John Harrington, M&C Report , 03-Nov-2011

Wetherspoon: concerns over red tape

Wetherspoon: concerns over red tape

JD Wetherspoon, the managed pub operator, has reported “resilient” results for the 13 weeks to 23 October, with like-for-like sales up 1.1% and total sales up 7.3%.

The company re-iterated its concerns about increasing red tape and taxes, but expected a “reasonable outcome” this financial year and said it remained committed to open about 50 pubs in the current year — it opened eight in the quarter.

Operating margin for the company was 9.3%, approximately 0.2% lower than that achieved during the last financial year.

Wetherspoons, which runs c.850 pubs, said: “As has been widely reported, UK consumers’ incomes remain under pressure. Our 9-September-2011 preliminary results announcement indicated that the company, along with many businesses, continues to experience increases in costs, including utilities, labour and bar and food supplies.

“The main cost increases we and the rest of the licensed trade incur, however, relate to continuing significant increases in taxation and regulation.

“Our sales, profit and cash flow have been resilient. As indicated in our annual report and accounts, the main challenges for the company, in the coming months, will be the continuing cost increases resulting from government legislation, including the carbon tax, the proposed late-night levy and further increases to excise duty.

“Nevertheless, the board is aiming for a reasonable outcome in the current financial year.”

JDW said there have been “no significant changes” in its overall financial position since the publication on 6 October of its annual report and accounts for the year ended 24 July.

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