JD Wetherspoon on course for record year but Tim Martin hits out at politicians

Tim Martin, the outspoken founder and chairman of pub giant JD Wetherspoon, has condemned a “lack of understanding” from MPs over inflation and regulation as the chain benefited from bumper bank holiday trade.

Martin cheered a strong sales performance but warned of continued pressure on the hospitality sector from higher costs. The group said sales over the Easter week were the “highest ever” for the business as it looks set to post record total sales for the year to July. It added that the first bank holiday weekend in May was “exceptionally strong” and included its busiest Saturday performance on record. However, it said the coronation weekend was “slightly less strong” as many people chose to celebrate at home.

Martin said: “Sales in the last quarter have continued their positive momentum, although inflation, especially in labour, energy and food costs, remains a more intractable issue. In order to bear down on inflation, political parties should encourage free enterprise, rather than a reliance on additional regulations. A lack of understanding among some senior politicians about the need to encourage a successful free market economy presents a real threat to the future prosperity of the country.”

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The firm, which runs 834 pubs, including the likes of the Caley Picture House in Edinburgh and Dunfermline’s Guildhall & Linen Exchange, revealed that like-for-like sales jumped 12.2 per cent over the three months to April 30. Martin said the business expects profits for the current financial year to be at the top of market expectations, pushing shares higher.



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