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30 Mar 2021 | 10:28

Wetherspoons to invest ?145m upgrading pub estate

(Sharecast News) - JD Wetherspoon is to spend £145m upgrading its estate, creating 2,000 new jobs, the pub chain said on Tuesday.

The FTSE 250 firm intends to open 18 new pubs and carry out "significant extensions and upgrades" at 57 of 871 existing outlets. They will be located in towns and cities across the UK, including Glasgow, Sheffield, Newport Pagnell and Carmarthen.

Once completed, the chain will then invest a further £750m opening 15 new pubs and enlarging 50 existing outlets each year for a decade. The 10-year project is forecast to create 20,000 new jobs.

Chairman Tim Martin said: "Our immediate investment will provide work for architects, contractors and builders as well as result in 2,000 new jobs for staff in our pubs."

But he warned: "However, this investment is conditional on the UK opening back up again on a long-term basis, with no further lockdowns or the constant changing of rules."

Martin has long been a vocal critic of changing lockdown restrictions, such as the introduction of a curfew and the requirement to order a "substantial meal" with a drink.

Wetherspoons said it expected to start work on the first pipeline "within a few months", once lockdown restrictions have been lifted and all its pubs have reopened fully. The chain is planning on opening a number of its pubs with suitable outdoor space on 12 April, when pubs and restaurants will be allowed to reopen but only for outdoors drinking and dining.

As at 1015 BST, shares in Wetherspoons were ahead 1% at 1,352.4p.
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