Wetherspoon Takes Aim At Supermarkets As Sales Slump

By Publications Checkout
Wetherspoon Takes Aim At Supermarkets As Sales Slump

Bar sales in UK pub group JD Wetherspoon were lower than expected over the Christmas period, with cut-price alcohol in supermarkets being blamed for the shortfall.

The chain, which operates over 900 pubs throughout the UK and two Dublin sites in Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire, saw their sales rise 2.8 per cent in the 12 weeks to 18 January, down from 6.3 per cent in the previous quarter, Reuters reports.

Wetherspoon continues its aggressive expansion in Ireland, having already acquired five more sites in Dublin, Cork and Waterford. Although founder and chairman Tim Martin still expects a “satisfactory” first year in Ireland, he cited cheap supermarket prices and tax inequality for the dip in sales.

“This situation reflects the dire need for the pub industry to campaign for equal tax treatment for pubs and supermarkets. It is certain that the current wave of pub closures, which continues at a high level, will accelerate when economic growth slows or reverses,” said Martin, a long-time advocate of tax reform in the hospitality sector, as reported in the Financial Times.

Despite the slowdown, the Wetherspoon group will continue to expand in Ireland, with 30 new sites planned in the next five years.