Tim Martin reveals health scare details in JDW trading update

By Stuart Stone contact

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Trading update: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin took a swipe at pro-EU economists
Trading update: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin took a swipe at pro-EU economists

Related tags: Wetherspoon

JD Wetherspoon provided an update on trading figures and founder and chairman Tim Martin’s health issues during a statement covering the 13 weeks to 28 October.

The operator revealed a 5.5% increase in like-for-like sales during the period, with total sales rising by 6.2%.

Moreover, JDW, which has opened two new pubs since the start of the financial year - with three sites closed or sold – revealed that it intends to open between five and 10 pubs during the current financial year.

Health issues

JDW chairman Tim Martin revealed that amid his recovery from health issues, the company’s General Meeting on 15 November will be chaired by JDW’s senior independent director Liz McMeikan.

Martin commented: “I am currently recovering from an operation after a burst appendix, so intend working part time from home for several weeks.

“Many thanks to the fantastic doctors, nurses and staff at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital.

“As most people understand, an experienced board, as at Wetherspoon, can be a great advantage. My recent health scare emphasises this point.”

Inaccurate forecasts

In his outlook statement, Martin took aim at pro-EU economists, stating: “For millennia people have sought advice from soothsayers like the Oracle at Delphi- or today from Mystic Meg.

“In business, the world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett, has warned that: “Forecasts tell you a lot about the forecaster, but nothing about the future.

“But some forecasters lack Buffett’s humility and insight. Pro-EU economists like David Smith of The Sunday Times​ or Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, full of scare stories about a post-Brexit future, are confident in their powers of prophecy.

“In reality, I believe the most consistently inaccurate​ forecasts of the last 40 years have been made by pro-EU economists, bankers, academics, MPs, and organisations like the CBI, City accountants and the Financial Times​.”

Difficult to be precise

Martin concluded his statement, which included “a few hundred words” on the advantages of free trade, with his own forecast on JDW’s immediate future, commenting: “As regards Wetherspoon, sales continue to grow strongly, although ‘comparatives’ are now tougher. 

“As has been widely reported, unemployment is at a record low, putting upward pressure on wages. As a result, Wetherspoon is increasing pay of our staff starting from this week. 

“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.

“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.

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

Related topics: JD Wetherspoon

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