Wetherspoon's reports 10% rise in like-for-like sales

JD Wetherspoon's has announced a significant increase in like-for-like sales, recording a growth of 10.1% compared to the same period the previous year. This data pertains to the 25 weeks leading up to January 21, 2024.

The chain's latest financial results reveal notable growth across various segments. Bar sales experienced a robust increase of 11.8%, food sales rose by 7.9%, and slot/fruit machines recorded a growth of 10.4%. Additionally, there was a 3.1% increase in room sales.

Furthermore, like-for-like sales in the last 12 weeks were 11.1% higher than the same period a year ago, with total sales growing by 8.4% in the year to date.

The Coffer CGA Business Tracker reported that in December the industry's like-for-like sales increased by an average of 8.8%. This compares to 15.2% for Wetherspoon during that period, meaning that it has now outperformed the tracker for 16 consecutive months.

As of now, the company currently has a trading estate of 814 pubs. In the current year, they have opened two new sites, one at London's Heathrow airport and another at London Euston railway station.

In the reporting period, the company engaged in the sale of five pubs. Additionally, eight leasehold pubs were either surrendered to the landlord or sublet. These actions generated a cash inflow of £3.8 million for the company.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: 'Wetherspoon, like the hospitality industry, has seen a consistent but slow recovery, following the pandemic.'

Comparing the pub trade to retail, he noted that pub labour costs are about 30% of sales, as against around 10% for supermarkets, adding: 'The inevitable consequence is that increased labour costs raise the differential in prices between the hospitality industry and supermarkets. At the same time, pubs pay far higher VAT and business rates than supermarkets, further exacerbating the price disparity.'

Looking ahead, he predicted: 'Notwithstanding these issues, Wetherspoon currently expects an outcome for the financial year in line with market expectations.'