Thirsty Brits give JD Wetherspoon a sales lift

Sales are up for the budget pub chain, despite threats from supermarkets and stealth taxes.

by Gabriella Griffith
Last Updated: 13 Sep 2013
The glorious summer currently being enjoyed by the UK (better late than never) looks to have had a good effect on on of our biggest pub chains. JD Wetherspoon, purveyor of cheap pints, has experienced a total sales increase of 6.2% - better than expected - for the last quarter. This puts total sales in the year to date up by 9.2%.

'We are now on track to achieve a slightly better outcome (before any exceptional items) for the current financial year than previously anticipated,' said the pub chain in a statement.

The news will be welcomed by investors, after the chain reported a fall in profits back in March. It put the previous poor results down to rising costs, something which it was quick to point out this morning is still a problem.

'As previously indicated, the company warmly welcomes the reduction in beer duty announced in the March budget (but overall excise duty increased),' it said.

'However, the late night levy, machine gaming duty and business rates taxes have increased, as well as pension costs. Continued progress in sales will be required in order to overcome these costs. The biggest dangers to the pub industry are the VAT disparity between supermarkets and pubs and the continuing imposition of stealth taxes.'

The perilous pub landscape has done little to halt Wetherspoon's expansion plans, though: it has opened 29 pubs since the start of the financial year – offloading only three. And it doesn't plan to stop there.

'It is our present intention to open around 30 pubs in the following financial year,' it said.

It's an impressive plan in the face of thousands of pub closures up and down the country. Cheers to that: at those prices, the celebratory pints of Abbott are on us.

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