J D Wetherspoon on Wednesday reported a jump in sales for the third quarter at its 900 odd pubs in Britain and Ireland, even as pub operators battled mounting costs.
Wetherspoon’s comparable sales rose 7.6 per cent during the 13 weeks to April 28th, with an 8.4 per cent rise in total sales in Britain and Ireland.
The company operates six pubs in the Republic, four of which are in Dublin, one in Cork and a newly opened premises in Carlow called the Tullow Gate. It also intends to open another Dublin pub - the Silver Penny - by mid-June and plans to start development work this month on its new hotel and pub in Dublin.
Growth for the company comes despite British pub operators battling rising costs from an increase in the minimum wage, higher property rents and a Brexit-spurred slide in the value of the pound. Adding to the pressure, younger Britons are increasingly moving away from pub drinking.
“We continue to anticipate a trading outcome for this financial year in line with our previous expectations,” Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said.
Greene King recently forecast annual pretax profit above analysts’ expectations as more Britons headed to its pubs over a warm and sunny Easter, but worries over persistently high costs pushed its shares lower.
Wetherspoon, popularly called Spoons, said in November last year it would review raising pricing during the year. It has traditionally undercut many of its peers on pricing and attracted younger Britons and college students.
The FTSE 250 group, which relies heavily on alcohol sales at its restaurants has said it expected costs in the second half to remain high, after rising wages hit the budget British pub chain’s profit.
Wetherspoon also said it had opened three new pubs and closed seven since the start of the financial year, adding it intended to open two more pubs this year. – Reuters