JD Wetherspoon's founder and chairman Tim Martin has confirmed that the pub chain's expansion plans in Ireland have been put on hold due to high property prices and planning delays.
Speaking to The Irish Times, Martin (pictured) stated the five Wetherspoon bars in Ireland - The Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock; The Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire; The Great Wood in Blanchardstown; The Old Borough in Swords; and the Linen Weaver in Cork city - continue to perform well, however the group has been forced to reevaluate its expansion plans given current market conditions.
Martin added that the group remains committed to expanding further in Ireland but it did not expect to be opening new bars anytime soon.
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The group originally intended to open up to 30 bars in Ireland, however Martin commented, "Since we first came to Ireland the property market has tightened up a lot and so any dream of having a dozen freehold pubs in central Dublin at a knock-down price are over".
In March, Wetherspoons plans for a new €4m pub and hotel on Camden Street in Dublin were halted after Dublin City Council requested that the UK-based pub chain provide more information about its plan for the new establishment.
In its latest financials released this week, Wetherspoons reported a 5.5 per cent rise in total sales for the 50 weeks to 10 July 10, with like-for-like sales up by 3.4 per cent.