Wetherspoon’s first-quarter sales slump on fresh Covid-19 curbs

Sales down more than 27% and company says that 756 of its pubs are now closed

The pandemic-hit hospitality industry has laid off thousands of workers. Photograph: iStock

The pandemic-hit hospitality industry has laid off thousands of workers. Photograph: iStock

 

British pub operator J D Wetherspoon posted lower sales on Wednesday for the first quarter of its new financial year, hit by fresh coronavirus restrictions, including changes in tier categories and a 10pm curfew in England.

The company, whose chairman Tim Martin has been an outspoken critic of coronavirus restrictions, reported sales down 27.6 per cent in the 15 weeks ended November 8th.

The pandemic-hit hospitality industry has laid off thousands of workers, with Wetherspoon cutting jobs at its head office and airport pubs.

Mr Martin, who had last week accused the UK government of panicking and “shooting from the hip” with the new restrictions, said on Wednesday “the constantly changing national and local regulations . . . are baffling and confusing”.

The company said 756 of its pubs in England, the Republic (where it operates seven pubs) and the North are closed, while 64 pubs in Scotland and 51 in Wales are open.

Wetherspoon, which had been selling pints for cut-price 99 pence in sterling markets to drain stocks before the English lockdown, said it expects its cash burn during the month of closure to be about £14 million (€15.8 million). – Reuters

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