He was commenting during the announcement of JD Wetherspoon results for the 12 weeks to 15 January, which saw like-for-like sales up 3.2% and total sales up 0.7%. The company also announced that like-for-like sales were up 3.4% for the 25 weeks to 15 January, with total sales up 1.6%.
Martin argued that the underlying reason for the “catastrophically poor judgment” was a semi-religious belief in a new type of political and economic system, represented by the EU, which lacked both proper democratic institutions and a government.
JD Wetherspoon also revealed it planned to open 10 to 15 pubs in its current financial year. The company has sold 21 pubs since the start of the financial year and two new sites have already been opened. It said that the majority of the pubs put on the market in 2016 had been sold with the rest under offer or being marketed.
Martin said he had been asked by the media to comment on the difference between the predictions of economists and the actual impact following the Brexit vote.
Martin said: “The Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, called these predictions a 'Michael Fish moment' for economists, but his comments demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of the situation.
“Michael Fish’s predictions were a misinterpretation of data on one evening, under great time pressure. In contrast, the majority of economists, economic institutions, politicians and intellectuals have consistently misunderstood the implications of the euro, its predecessor the exchange rate mechanism and the implications of leaving the EU, over a period of about 30 years.”
He said that the company was anticipating “significantly higher costs” in the second half of the financial year.
These are expected to rise by about 4% for wages, by £7m for business rates and by £2m for the apprenticeship levy, annually. Martin said it expects like-for-like sales to be lower in the next six months.