JD Wetherspoon could switch to non-EU suppliers

By Georgina Townshend contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wise up: Tim Martin considers using non-EU supply chain
Wise up: Tim Martin considers using non-EU supply chain
JD Wetherspoon’s chairman said he is considering looking at suppliers outside the EU due to the “current posturing and threats” by Brexit negotiators, who need to “wise up”.

The comment by Tim Martin has come after Wetherspoon published its preliminary results for the 53 weeks ended on 30 July 2017 today (15 September).

The results show that the pubco’s like-for-like sales have increased by 6.1%, with profit before tax at £102.8m.

Martin said: “Most PLCs are expected to comment, in their results' statements, on the UK's prospects outside of the EU and on the likely impact on their individual companies.

“It is my view that the main risk from the current Brexit negotiations is not to Wetherspoon, but to our excellent EU suppliers – and to EU economies.”

This process is unlikely to have adverse effects on the UK economy, as companies will be able to switch to suppliers representing the 93% of the world’s population which is not in the EU, but this evolution will eventually be highly damaging to the economy of the EU

– Tim Martin, JDW

Martin said he believes the “democratically elected politicians from the UK dealing with unelected oligarchs from the EU” is one of the main problems – with the oligarchs “not subject to judgment at the ballot box”.

“As a result of their current posturing and threats, EU negotiators are inevitably encouraging importers like Wetherspoon to look elsewhere for supplies,” Martin continued.

“This process is unlikely to have adverse effects on the UK economy, as companies will be able to switch to suppliers representing the 93% of the world’s population which is not in the EU, but this evolution will eventually be highly damaging to the economy of the EU.”

Reluctance to act

Martin said Wetherspoon is “extremely confident” that it can switch from EU suppliers, if required, although it would be “very reluctant to initiate such actions”.

Martin said EU leaders now need to “take a wise-up pill” in order to avoid causing “further economic damage to struggling economies”.

“There seems to be little genuine appetite for a free-trade deal from the Brussels bureaucracy, so EU companies are, paradoxically, reliant on the goodwill of UK consumers, who are likely to prefer tariff-free goods in the future from non-EU countries, which are generally in favour of free trade, rather than deals with companies that are subject to the diktat of those who wish to punish the UK,” he added.

Positive start ‘unlikely to continue’

Specifically on the results, Martin said: “Since the year end, Wetherspoon’s like-for-like sales have continued to be encouraging and have increased by 6.1%.

“This is a positive start, but is for a few weeks only – and is very unlikely to continue for the rest of the year.

“Comparisons will become more stretching – and sales, which were very strong in the summer holidays, are likely to return to more modest levels.”

Martin anticipates that like-for-like sales of around 3-4% will be required in order to match last year’s profit before tax.

“We will provide updates as we progress through the year. We currently anticipate a trading outcome for the current financial year in line with our expectations,” he said.

Related topics: JD Wetherspoon

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