JD Wetherspoon cheers Olympic boost in sales
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon cheered an Olympic boost to sales today but warned the gold performance could not be sustained as the impact of one-off events tails off.
The group, whose 860 mainly town-centre pubs screened the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, saw like-for-like sales in the six weeks to September 9 jump 8.4 per cent, with total sales up 12.8 per cent. This compares with 6.1 per cent growth in the 11 weeks to July 8.
But the Watford-based group said the level of growth would not continue as taxation and input costs are expected to rise, and maintained its forecast of a "reasonable outcome" for this financial year.
The update came as Wetherspoon reported an 11.7 per cent rise in revenues to £1.2 billion in the 53 weeks to July 29 and a 4.1 per cent drop in pre-tax profits to £58.9 million.
Shares in the pub chain jumped 5 per cent after today's results were published.
Douglas Jack, analyst at brokers Numis Securities, said the share price will be driven higher by the strong recent like-for-like growth but warned margin pressure was likely to resume in normal trading conditions.
The group, which also enjoyed a boost from the Diamond Jubilee and Euro 2012 football tournament, reported a 3.2 per cent increase in like-for-like sales for the year to July, within which bar sales increased by 2.8 per cent and food sales rose 4.8 per cent.
The company opened 40 pubs during the year, 18 of which were freehold, while three others closed, resulting in a total estate of 860 pubs at the financial year end.
The average development cost for a new pub, excluding the cost of freeholds, in the financial year under review, was £1.4 million, compared with £1.2 million a year ago.
The company said it intends to open about 25 pubs in the year ending July 2013.
Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon, reiterated his warning over the difference in VAT between supermarkets and pubs and other rising taxes.
He said: "The biggest dangers to the pub industry are the VAT disparity between supermarkets and pubs, combined with the continuing imposition of stealth taxes, such as the late-night levy and the increase in fruit and slot machine taxes."
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Unrest may spread across Europe, warns Red Cross chief
French government seeks to ban extreme right-wing group
BNP and EDL accused of attempt to fuel racial hatred after Woolwich terror attack
You want to get an Eton scholarship? All you need to do is answer four (not so simple) questions
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.