Wetherspoon sales rise but margins down

JD Wetherspoon said following up last year's performance could prove tough. Picture: Getty
JD Wetherspoon said following up last year's performance could prove tough. Picture: Getty
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Pub chain JD Wetherspoon, which has more than 70 outlets in Scotland, said yesterday that it will be difficult to improve upon the strong performance it delivered in the second half of last year.

In a trading update, the firm also said that like-for-like sales rose 1.7 per cent in the 13 weeks to 26 April, with total sales growing 5.8 per cent on the back of new openings.

This resulted in growth in same-floorspace sales of 3.6 per cent in the first 39 weeks of its financial year, with total sales up 7.9 per cent.

Wetherspoon, owner of Scottish venues including The Standing Order in Edinburgh, unveiled a group operating margin of 7.5 per cent, which was slightly ahead of City forecasts but still weaker than the 8 per cent seen a year earlier.

The company said it currently expected the full-year margin to be between 7.3 per cent and 7.7 per cent. It said the second half of its last financial year was strong, “which will make it difficult to improve on that performance in the current year”.

Wetherspoon added that future positives included a increase in pub numbers, with about 30 openings planned this year and next, and “stable utility prices”, offset by extra staff and repair costs.

MARTIN FLANAGAN