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Trading statements

Wetherspoon sales boosted by good weather

12 July 2017 07:24

JD Wetherspoon's like-for-like sales for the 11 weeks to 9 July increased by 5.3% and total sales increased by 3.6%.

In the year to date (50 weeks to 9 July) like-for-like sales increased by 3.9% and total sales increased by 1.9%.

It said the full-year operating margin before exceptional items and before a £1.6m gain on property was expected to be between 7.6% and 7.8% for the 53-week period, compared to 6.9% last year.

The company said it had opened 9 new pubs since the start of the financial year and had sold or closed 38.

It said: "We expect to open one more pub before the financial year end. There are expected to be around £24m of exceptional, non-cash losses in this financial year, which are mainly associated with pub disposals and closures.

"As previously announced, the company has increased capital expenditure in older pubs, which will be about £65m in the current year. Areas of expenditure include staff rooms, kitchen and garden upgrades, and IT improvements.

"We anticipate expenditure continuing at this, or a slightly higher, rate for the next few years."

The company said it remained in a sound financial position.

Net debt at the end of this financial year was currently expected to be around £715m. The company said it had bought back 3.4m shares, at a total cost of £31m, since the start of the financial year. Chairman Tim Martin said: "Sales have been good in the last 11 weeks, probably helped by unusually good weather.

"As previously stated, the Company anticipates that like-for-like sales of about 3 to 4% will be required to maintain profits at this year's levels in our next financial year.

"As is the case for most public companies, shareholders and the media are interested in our views on the Brexit process.

"In general, it is my view that requests to the government, like the one last week from the FCA, for 'clarity' and to 'hammer out a post-Brexit transitional arrangement this year' are unrealistic and increase pressure to agree unfavourable terms.

"It also makes the FCA and similar organisations seem rather weak. Everyone knows that these sorts of deals aren't within the government's gift - and the City and businesses are supposed to be able to deal with uncertainty."

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Related Company: JDW

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