JDW to plough more than £200m into estate expansion

By Alice Leader

- Last updated on GMT

Big plans: the pubco’s giant investment is also expected to create 10,000 new jobs
Big plans: the pubco’s giant investment is also expected to create 10,000 new jobs

Related tags Jd wetherspoon Tim martin

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has announced it will launch a £200m spending spree as the giant pubco is set to develop its estate over the next four years.

The four-year investment will see the expansion of new pubs and hotels, as well as channelling further growth on its existing sites across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The venture is also set to open thousands of job opportunities as well.

Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin said: “We are looking forward to opening many more new pubs as well as investing in existing pubs over the next four years.

“The fact that we will be creating approximately 10,000 jobs is great news too.”

Supporting the decline

JDW currently operates 875 pubs and 58 hotels across the UK and Republic of Ireland, and employs 44,000 staff.

But the investment aims to focus on broadening its estate in small and medium-sized towns but will also include large towns and cities too.

“We are especially pleased that a large proportion of the investment will be in smaller towns and cities that have seen a decline in investment in recent years,” Martin added.

The expansion will see new pubs open in Bourne, Waterford, Hamilton, Ely, Diss, Felixstowe, Newport Pagnell and Prestatyn.

It will also be investing in major cities, including London, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds and Galway.

Trading status

As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser​, the group reported a rise in like-for-like sales by 6.8%​​ in the year to 28 July 2019 in a trading update in September.

That update also reported operating profit dropped by 0.3% to £131.9m, down from £132.3m in the previous period.

At the time, the update said the group also saw revenue increase by 7.4% from £1.69bn in 2018 to £1.82bn for the 12 months to July 2019.

Martin said: “JDW continues to perform well. Like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 8 September 2019 were up 5.9%.

“We currently anticipate a reasonable outcome (pre-International Financial Reporting Standard 16) for the current financial year, subject to our future sales performance.

“As in previous years, we will provide updates, during the year, on the company’s trading.”

Previous expectations

In November, JDW announced it intended to open 10 and 15 new sites by the end of July 2020, after its latest financial update.

The update, for the 13-week period up to 27 October 2019, also reported like-for-like value sales increased by 5.3% and total value sales by 5.6%.

It was reported JDW had opened one new pub since the start of the financial year and disposed of four.

The pub group also said in the current financial year to date, JDW has spent £43.3m on buying pub freeholds of which it was previously the tenant and has bought back £6.4m of the company’s shares.

“We continue to anticipate a trading outcome for this financial year in line with our previous expectations,” Martin said.

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