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Pub/Bar/Nightclub

Wetherspoon Points To First-Half Loss As Omicron Curbs Bite

By Dave Simpson

British pub group JD Wetherspoon has warned that it will record a loss for the first half of the fiscal year after the Omicron coronavirus variant led to renewed curbs in the UK and kept people from heading out during the holidays.

Government advice for people to limit social contacts in the run-up to Christmas in response to an Omicron winter surge left pubs and restaurants largely empty during what should be one of their busiest periods.

The pub group said that like-for-like sales fell by 11.7% in the 25 weeks to January 16, with second-quarter sales hurt by restrictions imposed by Britain in December.

Chairman Statement

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"The uncertainty created by the introduction of Plan B COVID-19 measures makes predictions for sales and profits hazardous," Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said in a statement.

Criticisms

Martin has been an outspoken critic of the British government's handling of the health crisis.

The chain also accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his team of hypocrisy over reports of a drinks party at his official residence during the country's first lockdown when pubs were forced to close.

Wetherspoon also took aim at Britain's taxation system which it argued favours supermarkets over pubs.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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