JD Wetherspoon has downgraded expectations for its operating margin, regardless of strong sales; the firm took its frustration out on the UK government for imposing “stealth taxes” on the pub industry.
The chain of over 900 pubs pushed like-for-like sales up 6.3 per cent in its first quarter and lifted total sales by 11.3 per cent.
The group had previously warned the market about the likely impact of rising costs on margins. In July, it predicted the operating margin would fall to a range of 7.7-8.1 per cent next year.
Now, it is forecasting the 2014/15 operating margin at 7.2-7.8 per cent.That took a chunk off its share price, which has enjoyed a strong run in the last three months. The shares fell over 4 per cent early on Wednesday, before recovering slightly to trade down 3.6 per cent at 802p at lunchtime.