JD Wetherspoon Posts Higher Profit As Pub Patrons Defy Brexit Gloom
Britain's JD Wetherspoon has reported a higher annual pre-tax profit as more Britons visited its pubs even though overall consumer confidence and spending came under pressure due to Brexit uncertainties.
The company, which operates more than 900 pubs in Britain and Ireland, said that pre-tax profit after exceptional items rose to £95.4 million for the year that ended on July 28 from £89 million a year earlier.
However, pre-tax profit before exceptional items fell 4.5% to £102.5 million.
Wetherspoon has been battling increased costs due to a minimum wage hike, higher property prices and power bills. The company has also been investing in more labour intensive food and coffee business.
Total sales rose 7.4% to £1.82 billion, while like-for-like sales rose by 6.8%, with a jump in bar and food sales.
"Despite continuing political problems...Wetherspoon continues to perform well. Like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 8 September, 2019, were up 5.9%," Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said in a statement.
The company's performance comes at a time when the UK's pub sector is brimming with deals. Rival Greene King is set to be bought by Hong-Kong's Ck Asset for £4.6 billion, while Slug and Lettuce pub chain owner Stonegate has agreed to buy Ei Group for £1.27 billion.
Greene King said earlier this year that a wet summer and poor sentiment had hurt its sales in its new financial year, after reporting a higher-than-expected annual profit in the previous 12 months.