Wetherspoon profits come up short

Pre-tax profits in the six months to January 27 fell by 18.9% to £50.3 million as costs rocketed by about £33 million. However, revenue rose 7.1 per cent to £889.6million and like-for-like sales were up 6.3 per cent in the period.

The pubco pointed to rising costs, in particular labour, which increased by £33m.

The chairman of JD Wetherspoon had a go at "the establishment" over Brexit as the pub group reported a profit tumble in the first half amid rising costs.

As well as the pay rise in November, the bottom line was also hit by higher utility bills and maintenance costs. "The company anticipates an unchanged trading outcome for the current financial year", Martin said.

Total sales in this period increased by 10.9%, something Martin said was encouraged by "excellent weather this year and snow last year".

The chain experienced a like-for-like sales increase of 9.6% in the six weeks to 10 March 2019.

Brexit-backing Martin used his latest pub chain update to wade into politics.

In the first half of the year, the firm opened two new pubs and closed six, bringing its total estate to 879.

"The result has been a barrage of negative economic forecasts from those quarters, predicting that the United Kingdom will go to hell in a handcart without a "deal" with the European Union - which will effectively tie the country into European Union membership and taxation, yet without representation".

"The doomsters ignore the most powerful nexus in economics, between democracy and prosperity", he said.

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