Despite an increase in revenues of 6.2% to £790.3m (2015: £744.4m) and favourable like-for-like sales (+2.9%) J D Wetherspoon Interim results for the 26 weeks ended 24 January 2016 show a 10.8% dip in operating profit. This was due, said the company mainly to “ a lower gross margin and higher rates of pay for pub staff.”
JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin, also revealed that, “In the six weeks to 6 March 2016, like-for-like sales increased by 3.7%, with total sales increasing by 5.7%.”
He said, “Sales comparisons in the second half of the financial year will be slightly more favourable, although further wage increases are due in April. As a number of companies have indicated, the pub and restaurant market is highly competitive, but we are aiming for a reasonable outcome for the financial year.”
Tim Martin also used the publication of the interim results to voice his support of Brexit, and re-iterated his concerns re taxation. He said, “As previously highlighted, the biggest danger to the pub industry is the continuing tax disparity between supermarkets and pubs. There is a growing realisation among politicians, the media and the public that pubs are overtaxed and that a level tax playing field will create more jobs and taxes for the country.
“A wide debate is taking place as to whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union. I have written an article on the subject, favouring withdrawal from the Union, since returning power to the national parliament will increase the level of democracy and accountability.”
Wetherspoon currently operate in the region of 74 outlets in Scotland with The Booking Office opening in Edinburgh in May and The Paddle Steamer in Largs in June.