J D Wetherspoon plc trading figures for the first 12 weeks of the second quarter (to 17 January 2016), show that like-for-like sales increased by 3.3% and total sales by 6.3%. In the year to date (25 weeks to 17 January 2016), like-for-like sales increased by 2.8% and total sales increased by 6.1%. The company revealed the news in a trading, before entering its close period for its interim results, for the six months ending 24 January 2016, which are expected to be announced on 11 March 2016.
Chairman Tim Martin said, “Like-for-like sales have improved in the second quarter so far. However, as indicated in our November trading update, increased labour costs will be an important factor in the outcome for this financial year. Our current view is profits for this year are likely to be towards the lower end of analysts’ expectations.”
Robert Rawlinson, CEO of the pub technology platform Screach, comments, “Few industries feel the January blues more acutely than the pub sector. But as the first of the big pub chains to report its Christmas trading figures, JD Wetherspoon has provided some much-needed cheer.
“Intense competition both within the sector and from supermarkets means that all pubs are having to try new approaches not just to attract customers but keep them for longer.
“From morning coffees to lunchtime meal deals for office workers, pubs are having to look to news ways to drive revenue throughout the day and across demographics.
“Technology is increasingly playing a part in the proposition too – as pubs seek to engage more with younger, tech-savvy drinkers. The Great British Pub is not an endangered species – but the pressure it faces has forced it to adapt.”