British pub group JD Wetherspoon Plc has warned of lower pre-tax profit for the first half of its fiscal year as it struggles with higher costs amid a slowdown in consumer spending ahead of Brexit.
British pub operators have been battling rising costs from an increase in minimum wages, higher property prices and a Brexit-spurred slide in sterling. At the same time, younger Britons are increasingly moving away from pub drinking.
JD Wetherspoon announced a pay hike for its employees in last November, while also dealing with a new sugar tax on drinks.
"Costs, as previously indicated, are considerably higher than the previous year, especially labour, which has increased by about £30 million in the period," Wetherspoon's pro-Brexit CEO, Tim Martin, said.
Planned Pub Openings And Like-For-Like Sales
The company, which kept its full-year outlook unchanged, said it plans to open five to 10 pubs in the current financial year.
Wetherspoon, which operates more than 900 pubs in Britain and Ireland, also said like-for-like sales for 12 weeks to January 20 rose by 7.2%, helped by strong demand during the Christmas period.