Jubilant results for JD Wetherspoon

Pub chain Wetherspoon's has announced a jump in sales thanks to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Euro 2012.

by Michael Northcott
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Trust Brits to use any excuse for a swift one. The Jubilee and the Euro 2012 football tournament have boosted like for like sales 6.1% at pub chain JD Wetherspoon in the 11 weeks to July 8. The bump has also helped raise annual like-for-like sales by 3%. It seems for every spectator on the Thames to see the pageant in the rain, there was another keeping dry in the pub, nursing a pint of foaming ale.

Whilst growth of 3% may seem modest, it is actually an impressive feat when the unique financial pressures facing its pubs are taken into account. Students’ favourite ‘Spoon’s margins are already smaller than other pubs (to get the price of the pints down), and excise duty (or ‘beer tax’) is rising, as are business rates and carbon tax on commercial premises. Boss Tim Martin is campaigning for a reduction in the tax burden on pubs, which he argues is unfairly high in comparison with that levied on supermarket booze. Those challenges are not just a lot of froth…

Furthermore, the chain has been priming the pump with its expansion plans, having opened 40 new venues and closed only three since the start of the financial year. The growth will cool slightly next financial year however, with plans to open around 25 more. The firm has also bought back 5.6 million shares costing around £23m, shoring up some of its share price value. With progress like this, the company’s coffers will soon be pretty portly. 

With the Olympic Games still to come and ever tighter purse strings meaning punters will flock to the cheaper booze, ‘Spoon’s could be set for another great quarter. That’s if HMRC doesn’t empty the barrel, mind…

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