JDW ‘total sales at record levels with fewer pubs’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Company trading: the update revealed JDW's like-for-like sales were up by 5.8% (image: Getty/pinstock)
Company trading: the update revealed JDW's like-for-like sales were up by 5.8% (image: Getty/pinstock)

Related tags Jd wetherspoon Finance Pubco + head office

Pub giant JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has reported record results in its pre-close trading update for the 10 weeks to 7 July 2024.

The update revealed like-for-like sales were up by 5.8% in the period, compared to the same timeframe last year while year-to-date like-for-like sales rose by 7.7%.

Moreover, in the year-to-date, JDW has opened two pubs and sold or surrendered to the landlord 26 pubs.

Most of the disposals were smaller and older or where the company has a second pub in reasonably close proximity. The disposals generated a net cash inflow of £8.7m. Furthermore, 10 trading pubs remain on the market or are under offer.

JDW estimated net debt will be around £670m at the end of the financial year. Last month (6 June), it signed a new four-year £840m banking agreement on attractive terms.

On the latest results, chairman Tim Martin said: “The gradual recovery in sales and profits following the pandemic has continued in the current financial year. Total sales are again, at record levels, with fewer pubs.

“Sales per pub are approximately 21% higher than pre-pandemic levels, which has helped to compensate for the very substantial increase in costs."

Company investment

He added: “For example, compared to the 2019 financial year, labour in this financial year has increased by approximately £164m, energy by £28m, repairs (also affected by labour costs) by £38m and interest (excluding IFRS 16 interest) by £16m.

“Notwithstanding these cost pressures, the company continues to endeavour to ‘widen the moat’ by investing in areas such as beer gardens, staff rooms, above-bar glass racks and improved beer dispense systems.”

In January this year, the company was recognised by the Top Employers Institute​ as a Top Employer United Kingdom 2024, which was the 19th​ time JDW was certified by the organisation.

Martin stated staff retention was at its highest ever level, in the trading update.

He said: “[Some] 11,066 staff, an average of 14 per pub, have worked for the company for five years or more.

“Of those, 3,895 have worked for 10 years and 632 for 20 years.”

Tax equality

He outlined how the business, which currently has a trading estate of 801 pubs, is set to open a number of sites soon.

“We are also continuing to open new pubs, with openings in the next few months, for example in Waterloo​ and Fulham Broadway stations in London and in Marlow, Buckinghamshire,” Martin added.

“The average JDW pub has generated taxes of one sort or another of £7m in the past 10 years, as well as generating considerable employment and social benefits.

“The last Government failed to implement tax equality between pubs and supermarkets, leading to pub closures and underinvestment – JDW hopes the current Chancellor, with a Bank of England pedigree, will understand how many beans make five and rectify this inequality.

“The company continues to expect profits in the current financial year to be in line with market expectations.”

JDW is set to release its preliminary results on 4 October 2024.

Related topics JD Wetherspoon

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