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Wetherspoon on track for ‘record’ year as chain shrug off inflation woes

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JD Wetherspoon is expecting a “record” high in sales this year as the budget pub chain shrugs off inflationary and supply chain woes, sending its shares – with the company’s shares soaring over seven per cent when markets opened this morning.

The London-listed boozer said that sales during the Easter week were the highest-ever for the company as pub goers sought out cheap pints amidst the cost of living crisis.

Compared to FY22, like-for-like sales across the 834 strong pub chain increased 12.2 per cent in the third quarter and 12.7 per cent year to date.

As the UK enjoys three bank holidays during May, JD Wetherspoon said that the first weekend welcomed its busiest-ever Saturday – however recorded slightly less strong trade during the weekend of the coronation as drinkers turned elsewhere.

Wetherspoon recorded net debt of £738m at the end of April – approximately £67m lower than what was reported in its interim results for FY20 .

Since then, the business has invested £185m in new pubs and freehold reversions and has raised equity of approximately £240m.

During the quarter Wetherspoon also sold, closed or surrendered to the landlord 10 pubs (21 pubs year to date) which were smaller and older, or where the company had a second pub in  close proximity.

It recorded a net cash inflow of £4.7m from the 21 disposals.

With many pub businesses buckling under the pressure of soaring energy costs and price hikes –  Tim Martin chief executive of Wetherspoon said that inflation, especially in labour, energy and food costs, remains an “intractable issue”.

He said: “In order to bear down on inflation, political parties should encourage free enterprise, rather than a reliance on additional regulations. A lack of understanding, among some senior politicians, about the need to encourage a successful free market economy, presents a real threat to the future prosperity of the country.”

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