JDW reports 9.9% sales increase

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Significantly stronger: JDW reports 9.9% sales increase (Pictured: JDW chairman Tim Martin)
Significantly stronger: JDW reports 9.9% sales increase (Pictured: JDW chairman Tim Martin)

Related tags Jdw Finance Multi-site pub operators

JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has reported like-for-like sales were up 9.9% in the nine weeks to 1 October 2023 compared to the same period last year.

The company’s preliminary trading results revealed profit before tax had increased by 244.1% year-on-year, up from £26.3m to £90.5m while its operating profit had risen by 92.4%, from £55.1m to £106m.

Previously, JDW reported like-for-like sales were up 11%​ in the year to July 2023 compared with the same period pre-Covid.

JDW chairman Tim Martin said: “Wetherspoon continues to perform well.

“The company currently anticipates a reasonable outcome for the financial year, subject to our future sales performance.”

Total sales for FY23 were £1.925m, an increase of 10.6% compared to the 53 weeks ended 31 July 2022.

Significantly stronger 

Like-for-like sales, compared to FY22, increased by 12.7%, while like-for-like bar sales increased by 9%, food sales by 17.7%, and hotel rooms by 11.8%.

In addition, the data showed JDW’s debt levels had decreased by £163m since January 2020, standing at £641.9m at the time of publication, attributed to “investments in freehold revisions”.

The reported said: “Wetherspoon’s balance sheet is significantly stronger than it was in the period before the pandemic.

“[Debt reduction] has been achieved by investing £81.7m and £108.5m in new pubs. During the pandemic, the company raised a total of £229mof new equity.”

Total capital investment was £78.5m, compared with £122.7m in 2022, of which £20.4m was pumped into new pubs and extensions, £47m went into existing pubs and IT and £11.2 million was spent on freehold reversions of properties where Wetherspoon was the tenant.

Martin added: “As we said last year, perhaps the biggest threat to the hospitality industry is the possibility of further lockdowns and restrictions.”

Important contribution 

The reported also urged the Government to create “tax equality” between the on and off-trade.

It stated the level of VAT supermarkets pay compared with pubs has enabled retail firms to “subsidise the price of alcoholic drinks” and “widening the price gap to the detriment of pubs and restaurants”.

“As we have previously stated, the Government would generate more revenue and jobs if it were to create tax equality among supermarkets, pubs and restaurants.

“It makes no sense for supermarkets to be treated more leniently than pubs, since pubs generate far more jobs per pint or meal than supermarkets, as well as far higher levels of tax.

“Pubs also make an important contribution to the social life of many communities and have better visibility and control of those who consume alcoholic drinks”, the report continued.

Earlier this week, the pub chain announced its latest Heathrow Airport site​, Star Light, had officially opened following a £500k investment, while last month the firm appointed estate agents Savills to sell 11 of its 882 pubs​, after selling 13 pubs during in the year to July 2023.

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