Pubs group JD Wetherspoon reports 28% jump in profit

Pubs group JD Wetherspoon reports 28% jump in profit”

Tim Martin - never one to hold back his opinions on Brussels - used the release of his company's annual results to urge European Union officials to "take a wise-up pill" and recognise they risked scoring an economic own goal in their demands of the UK.

Since the year end, Wetherspoon's like-for-like sales have increased by 6.1%.

The chain started out with one pub in Muswell Hill, north London, in 1979 and now has almost 1,000 outlets. Martin has previously criticised the EU and a year ago had said he would stop selling drinks brands from other European countries if senior EU leaders maintain a "bullying" approach to Brexit negotiations.

"Wetherspoon is extremely confident that it can switch from European Union suppliers, if required, although we would be very reluctant to initiate such actions", the pub operator's founder said on Friday (15 September).

JD Wetherspoon, owner and operator of more than 900 pubs in Britain and Ireland, on Friday reported an nearly 28 percent jump in annual pretax profit, helping to send shares in the company to a record high. This could not be sustained, he said. "We now anticipate a trading outcome for the current financial year in line with our expectations", Chairman Tim Martin said. "Comparisons will become more stretching - and sales, which were very strong in the summer holidays, are likely to return to more modest levels", he said.

Although the chain imports much of what it sells from the EU, Martin said EU negotiators' "current posturing and threats" were forcing British companies like his to "look elsewhere for supplies".

Revenue rose from £1.60bn to £1.66bn, while like-for-like sales climbed 4% and the company confirmed it will maintain its full year dividend of 4p per share.

On the currency markets, the pound hit a year-high against the dollar as traders continued to react to Thursday's comments from the Bank of England which suggested interest rates could rise later this year.

"The news that J D Wetherspoon has served up stronger than expected results, plus an even stronger start to the current year, will certainly have put investors in high spirits, especially since it comes just days after a disappointing update from rival Greene King.", said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst George Salmon.

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