British pub group JD Wetherspoon has fallen deeper into the red for its fiscal 2021 and said that it has like many other businesses found it hard to attract workers in some areas of Britain as trading improved.
Losses And Like-For-Like Sales
The company's losses ballooned to £194.6 million for the 12 months ended July 25, from 105.4 million pounds a year earlier because of COVID-19 pandemic curbs. Its like-for-like sales slumped 38.4%.
Chairman Tim Martin, who is an outspoken critic of the government's handling of the health crisis, said that the pressure on pub managers and staff has been particularly acute and some areas of the country "have found it hard to attract staff".
No Final Dividend Proposal
Get a FREE Digital Subscription!Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
Wetherspoon's refrained from proposing a final dividend for the year in which it was forced to seek debt waivers from its lenders, raise money and cut jobs to get through the health crisis.
The company's sales in the first nine weeks of its current fiscal year were still 8.7% lower compared to pre-pandemic levels, but it said that it is cautiously optimistic about 2021 as all curbs have now been lifted.
But the industry faces fresh challenges in the run up to Christmas as pub operators, which are just beginning to see signs of recovery after months of closures or reduced capacity, have been facing a shortage of labour partly due to a post-Brexit exodus of European workers.
Number Of Employees
Wetherspoon's said that its total number of employees averaged 42,003 as of last week compared with 43,219 at the end of fiscal 2020.
News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.