J D Wetherspoon Reports Higher Annual Profit


On Friday, J D Wetherspoon Plc, a British pub chain, reported a rise in its full-year profit as a record heatwave brought in more customers. However, the group said that it is expecting higher costs in 2018.

The firm owns and operates more than 900 pubs in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It said that its like-for-like sales increased by 5.5 percent in the six weeks that ended on the 9th of September.

Tim Martin, the chairman of the firm, stated: “The company has had a reasonable start to the financial year, but taxes, labour and interest costs are expected to be higher than those of last year.”

He said that there will be “a huge gain for business and consumers if the U.K. copies the free-trade approach of countries like Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Israel, by slashing protectionist EU import taxes” in March 2019.

Just like its rivals, Wetherspoon has been bogged down by the significant costs from a new sugar tax that were imposed on beverages, an increase on the rate of the minimum wage, increases in rent and higher power bills.

However, a record heat wave across the United Kingdom had helped in bringing in more people into Wetherspoon pubs.

Last July, the group had also said that the Football World Cup was drawing in much more customers.

On Friday, Martin informed the BBC radio that the higher sales of the company over the summer were largely because of the warm weather rather than the Football World Cup. Martin campaigned in favour of the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

The pre-tax profit of Wetherspoon after exceptional items increased to 89 million pounds in the year ended July 29. It is up from the 16.5 percent from the year earlier. The like-for-like sales of the company rose by 5 percent.

The company maintained its full-year dividend at 12 pence a share.