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J D Wetherspoon and Greene King report steady sales post-Brexit

Wetherspoon

Two of the UK’s biggest pub operators – J D Wetherspoon and Greene King – have reported steady sales despite fears over a Brexit backlash.

J D Wetherspoon today reported a strong 12.5% rise in full-year pre-tax profits to £66m.

Company Chairman Tim Martin said a sales increase of 4.1% since its year end on July 24 is “encouraging”, and blasted both Brexit sceptics and the need to push for a trade deal with the EU.

He said, “Now that the gloomy economic forecasts for the immediate aftermath of the referendum have been proven to be false, ‘Scare Story 2’ is that failure to agree on trade deal with the EU will have devastating consequences.

In contrast, Wetherspoon’s experience indicates that reaching formal trade deals with reluctant counterparties is impossible – and it is unwise to try.”

Leading pub retailer and brewer Greene King also today announced steady progress among its main trading businesses in 2016.

Pub Company delivered a like-for-like (LFL) sales growth of 1.7% rise in the first 18 weeks of the year, while Pub Partners noted a 4.5% increase in its LFL net income after 16 weeks.

Yet in a statement, Greene King admitted that uncertainty over the UK’s future break from the EU had created a “softening of some economic indicators and a reduction in consumer confidence” and that the company is “alert to a potentially tougher trading environment ahead.”

The Financial Times today reported that while Wetherspoon’s shares are enjoying a 3.1 per cent bump to 953.3p in early trading, Greene King shares are off 3.75 per cent to 809.8p.

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