Virus blamed for sharp drop in Wetherspoon sales

Virus blamed for sharp drop in Wetherspoon sales
Wetherspoon chairman, Tim Martin pictured during a visit to the Bridge Bar, Belfast.

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has lashed out at the government over Covid-19 restrictions following the announcement of a 27.6 per cent drop in like-for-like sales.

Hundreds of Wetherspoon pubs in Northern Ireland, the Republic and England remain closed under restrictions which group chairman, Tim Martin, recently condemned as ‘baffling and confusing’.

‘The entire regulatory situation is a complete muddle,’ he said.

Wetherspoon has blamed ‘significantly lower’ sales across the chain during October on the varied attempts by governments to combat the surging Coronavirus.

As of yesterday (Thursday) morning, around 750 Wetherspoon outlets around the British Isles were closed, a situation which, Martin says, is costing the pubco around £14m. Wetherspoon is not offering take-away sales from any of its venues.

The latest figures are for the 15 weeks to November 8.

As of yesterday morning, 51 Wetherspoon pubs were trading in Wales, where a lockdown has just ended, and 64 in Scotland. Hospitality venues in Northern Ireland remained closed as elected representatives at Stormont struggled to reach consensus around the extent to which the current ‘circuit break’ restrictions should be eased.