Pub operator Wetherspoon to seek debt waivers as sales remain weak

British pub operator sees slump in sales despite lifting of restrictions

The Forty Foot Bar, a Wetherspoon pub, in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. The group has seven pubs in Ireland with five in Dublin and one each in Cork and Carlow.

The Forty Foot Bar, a Wetherspoon pub, in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin. The group has seven pubs in Ireland with five in Dublin and one each in Cork and Carlow.

 

Wetherspoon said on Wednesday it plans to seek debt waivers from its lenders for the next financial year, as like-for-like sales continued to slump despite the easing of pandemic restrictions.

The company said like-for-like bar and food sales slipped 49 per cent between April 12th and May 16th, a period when outdoor dining was permitted albeit with some restrictions, while sales were still down 14.6 per cent between May 17th and July 4th when pubs were fully open.

Wetherspoon, popularly known as just “Spoons”, slumped into a first-half loss in March and has had to remove hundreds of employees and raise money to get through the health crisis, which forced its pubs shut all through the key Christmas season last year.

The group, which operates 860 pubs in the UK currently, has seven pubs in Ireland with five in Dublin and one each in Cork and Carlow.

Camden Street

As part of a €30 million investment in the Republic, Wetherspoon is also opening a new pub on Camden Street in Dublin which will incorporate an 89-bedroom hotel, while another outlet is planned for Waterford.

The British government, which started easing some of the curbs earlier this year, announced plans this week to lift all restrictions on July 19th. The company, which currently has most of its pubs open, reiterated that it expects to make a loss for the year ending July 25th.

It expects its net debt to fall to £833 million by the end of this financial year from £865 million as at July 4th.

Wetherspoon plans to open 18 new pubs and upgrade 57 others, and will invest roughly £750 million on similar projects in the next 10 years. – Reuters