Wetherspoon slows expansion plans

Pubs firm JD Wetherspoon is ready to scale back its expansion and is blaming a tough tax regime for exacerbating already tough trading conditions.

The company, which has 834 pubs, said it was now aiming for 1,400 to 1,500 in the long term, down from 1,600 previously, and could slow its rate of expansion from the current goal of adding 50 outlets a year.

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Chairman and founder Tim Martin said: “If we continue to get these tax increases, we will take a serious look at the level of expansion we can contemplate because pubs won’t be viable in some of the smaller towns.”