JDW accuses Daily Mail of 'hyperbole and exaggeration'

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Misleading impression: JDW accuses the Daily Mail of exaggerating its pub disposals
Misleading impression: JDW accuses the Daily Mail of exaggerating its pub disposals

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JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has accused national newspaper the Daily Mail of causing “unnecessary alarm” regarding recent reports of its pub disposals.

A spokesperson for JDW said the article, published on Tuesday 1 August, contained a “number of mistakes”.

The pubco has rebutted claims made by the Daily Mail it had closed some 29 pubs so far this year, stating 28 sites had shut, but not due to difficult trading conditions, as the article suggested.

“Describing pubs that are open as closed is inaccurate and alarmist”, the spokesperson continued.

Misleading impression 

JDW​ stated of the 28 closures, 15 were sold to other pub or restaurant companies while the remaining 13 were leaseholds where the lease had either expired or the location had been earmarked for development by the landlord, for example in Orpington and Basildon.

In addition, the pubco explained its Doncaster Airport site had shut due to the closure of the airport while a new larger freehold site had been acquired in Basildon and was due to open in approximately 12 months.

JDW​, which operates more than 800 sites across the UK, also refuted the “startling assertion”, according to the spokesperson, that the company had announced it was putting 32 pubs up for sale in September this year.

The pubco claimed this announcement was made in 2022 and the Daily Mail headline, which read “Wetherspoons closes more pubs with dozens of boozers across Britain earmarked for closure”, created a “misleading impression”.

Sensitive issue

Earlier this month, the business reported like-for-like sales for the first quarter​ of its financial year had risen by 11% versus the same period pre-covid.

JDW​ chairman Tim Martin said: “Pub disposals are a sensitive issue. Hyperbole and exaggeration from the Daily Mail have created unnecessary alarm.

“Wetherspoon’s annualised sales are now approximately £2bn, the highest ever level, and are over £100m per annum more than in the year before the pandemic. 

“Profits, as we said in our recent trading statement, are increasing and employment is also at a record level. That is certainly not the impression the Daily Mail article gave.”

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