Profits soar for Wetherpoons as customers flood back

Profits soar for Wetherpoons as customers flood back

Profits at JD Wetherspoon have soared as demand increased and inflation fell.

Founder and Belfast-educated chairman Tim Martin, above, said it has seen sales “continue to improve” into the new financial year.

The company told shareholders pre-tax profits surged almost eight-fold to £36 million for the year to January, compared with £4.6m a year earlier.

Wetherspoons benefited from a continued improvement in demand and easing cost inflation.

Like-for-like sales grew by 7.4% for the year, with this now 15.3% ahead of pre-pandemic levels from 2019.

Mr Martin said it has seen like-for-like sales grow 5.8% so far in February and March as it continued to witness an improvement in demand from customers.

“The company currently anticipates a reasonable outcome for the financial year, subject to our future sales performance,” Mr Martin added.

It came as the pub group also confirmed it has trimmed the size of its pub estate further.

Wetherspoons said it now has 814 pubs after selling five pubs, terminating the lease of another five and subletting another three sites.

Wetherspoon also put two of its Belfast properties on the market in 2022 after calling time in a long-running bid to open pubs on both Royal Avenue and University Road.

It also owns the former Café Vaudeville premises on Belfast’s Arthur Street, which is on long-lease to Revolution Bars.

The company said: “In the last decade, there has been a reduction in the number of trading Wetherspoon pubs, which peaked at 955 in December 2015.

“In spite of a reduction in the overall number of pubs, sales have continued to increase – total sales are now about one third higher than in 2015.”