JD Wetherspoon boss attacks 'bullying and hectoring' European leaders

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Tim Martin: JDW boss has long supported leaving the EU
Tim Martin: JDW boss has long supported leaving the EU

Related tags European union

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) boss Tim Martin has accused EU leaders of “bullying” the UK following the country’s decision to leave the union. 

The JDW chairman, a long-standing Eurosceptic​, launched into a tirade against Brussels as well as the French and German heads of state, François Hollande and Angela Merkel, for propagating a “UK must pay a price” attitude.

He said: “According to press reports, Juncker [Jean-Claude, president of the European Commission] told European business leaders in October not to negotiate with UK companies and to adopt an ‘intransigent’ attitude.

Unfair burden

“This suggested approach puts an unfair burden on the excellent European suppliers with which UK companies, like Wetherspoon, have traded on for many decades.”

He added: “For example, Wetherspoon normally agrees on trade deals with suppliers for three to 10 years.

“If we, and companies like ours, are unable to agree on tariff-free transactions, it will inevitably result in a loss of business for European companies that have done nothing to deserve this outcome.”

He warned that French wine, Champagne and spirits as well as German beer and Swedish cider could be at “extreme risk” if customers grew tired of the EU’s “hectoring and bullying” approach and decided to impart “the ultimate sanction”.

Sales up

The company reported a like-for-like sales increase of 3.5% with total sales up by 2.3% for the 13 weeks leading up to 23 October.

However, the level of like-for-like sales fell to 2.3% for the last five weeks of that period.

Martin said: “The company anticipates higher costs in the remainder of the current year, for instance in the areas of wages, business rates and repairs.

“The company also intends to increase the level of capital investment in existing pubs from £34m in 2015-16 to around £60m in the current year.”

He called JDW’s performance so far this financial year “reasonable” and said the company’s outlook for the remainder of the year was unchanged.

No Christmas dinners

The company announced earlier this year it was pulling Christmas dinners from its menus​, opting to serve a range of Christmas-style meals on its all-day menu from November 13 to December 22.

JDW spokesperson Eddie Gershon said: “A number of high street restaurant operators don’t offer a Christmas roast but do offer meals that are Christmas-based and Wetherspoon is taking a similar approach.”

Related topics Legislation JD Wetherspoon

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