Rising sales lift Wetherspoon’s full-year forecast

PUBS group JD Wetherspoon nudged up its profit guidance yesterday thanks to the improving economic backcloth.

The group, whose 40 or so pubs in Scotland include Edinburgh’s Playfair, said in an update that like-for-like sales rose 3.5 per cent in the 11 weeks to 14 July.

In the 50 weeks to that date like-for-like sales lifted 6 per cent and total sales were up 9.2 per cent. The company said it expected a “slightly better outcome” for the financial year than previously expected as margins improved to 9.5 per cent in the latest period compared to 8.7 per cent in the year to date.

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Tim Martin, Wetherspoon’s chairman, said the recent heatwave was unlikely to have helped sales as the chain has few beer gardens. But he added the improving economy may have helped consumer sentiment.

“Possibly they are more optimistic and celebrating the absence of Armageddon,” he said.