British pub company J D Wetherspoon has announced that it is in a “sound financial position,” with Q3 like-for-like sales up +3.5% and total sales +2.8%.

Unlike last year, the May Day bank holiday was not included in Q3 2018 (13 weeks to 29 April), which it said “is likely to have reduced like-for-like sales by about 0.5% in the period.

That said, year-to-date like-for-like sales have also increased by 5.2% and total sales by +3.8%.

Other highlights since the start of the financial year, include:

  • Five new pubs opened and sold 19, with plans to open one more before the year-end
  • £15.4m spent on buying the freeholds of pubs of which it was previously tenants
  • Wetherspoon has bought back £51.6m of shares

Chairman Tim Martin said: “As anticipated, the rate of like-for-like sales growth slowed slightly in the third quarter.

“Wetherspoon continues to face significant cost increases in the second half in areas which include labour, business rates and the sugar tax. There is also some uncertainty as to the effect on sales of the FIFA World Cup.

“We continue to anticipate a trading outcome for this financial year in line with our previous expectations.”