British pub company J D Wetherspoon has reported like-for-like sales were up 6% for the 12 weeks to 21 January, in its second quarter trading update issued today (24 January).
Total sales were also up in Q1 at +4.3%, while year to date figures (25 weeks to 21 January) proved identical with like-for-like sales up by 6% and total sales by +4.3%.
Claiming sales were “better-than-expected,” Wetherspoon said that “year-to-date underlying profit before tax is therefore slightly ahead of its expectations” and that a “similar outperformance in the second half will be more difficult to achieve.”
Since the start of its financial year (August 2017), Wetherspoon has also:
Opened three new pubs and sold 10
Bought back £51 million of shares
In a “sound” financial position, the company plans to open another 10 pubs before the year-end and expects net debt to “to be around £30 million higher” than last year.
Chairman Tim Martin said: “Sales in the second quarter to date matched the strong growth of the first quarter. In the second half of the year, sales comparatives will be more difficult.
“We face significant costs in the second half in areas which include labour, business rates and the sugar tax. There will also be some uncertainty as to the effects on our business of the FIFA World Cup.
“Nevertheless, given better-than-expected year-to-date sales, we currently anticipate a slightly improved trading outcome for this financial year.”