JD Wetherspoon sees sales increase

JD Wetherspoon sees sales increase


Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has reported a recent increase in sales

Pubs chain JD Wetherspoon has said sales grew in recent weeks despite the snow but warned profit margins were coming under pressure from the increasing cost of food, drink and other bills.

Wetherspoon, which operates nearly 800 outlets, said like-for-like sales increased 3% in the 12 weeks to January 16, up from 1.6% in the previous quarter.

But analysts estimated that its operating margin had slipped to about 9.4% from 10% a year ago as it battled rising costs, including the rise in alcohol duty and VAT at the start of January, higher interest charges and utility bills.

The company said it was confident of a reasonable outcome for the year to July despite the harsher economic climate, helped by its plans to open 50 pubs in the year.

It put up prices by an average of 3% to 4% in October after facing price hikes from suppliers in its first non-tax-related price hike of the year.

Wetherspoon, which has opened 12 pubs and closed two in the past six months, said sales were affected by the snow in December but the reduction was offset by comparisons with the snowy weather last January.

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