Wetherspoons boosted by sales lift as costs ease

Wetherspoons boosted by sales lift as costs ease

Pub group JD Wetherspoon has reported an increase in first-quarter sales, helped by easing costs and steady demand for its lower-than-average priced drinks and food despite the cost of living crisis.

The group, which owns and operates 816 pubs across the UK and Ireland, said it would spend about £70m this year to improve its pubs.

Resilient customer spending has helped the UK hospitality industry deal with high costs as it recovers from pandemic lows.

However, the cost-of-living crisis remains a threat as cash-strapped shoppers turn to supermarkets to stock up on beers, wines and spirits.

“Inflationary pressures have eased, but energy costs, in particular, remain at far higher levels than pre-pandemic, putting pressure on suppliers and the wider economy,” Chairman Tim Martin said in a statement.

The group said its like-for-like sales rose 9.5% in the 14 weeks ended November 5, while total sales were up 8.1% so far this year.

This growth was particularly driven by a 10.7% increase in its bar sales.

Meanwhile, it reported food sales grew by 8.2%, sales through slot and fruit machines was up 10% and hotel room sales were up 6.2% for the period.

During the latest quarter, the pub group said it opened one new pub at Heathrow airport.

It also sold four pubs and surrendered the lease of six other pubs.

The update comes a month after the company revealed it swung back to a profit as it continued its post-pandemic recovery.