Wetherspoon Glass Is Half Empty after Weak Sales
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon stunned the City yesterday by warning profits would be dented by weak bar sales.
The group said like-for-like sales growth had slowed over the last four weeks and profits were expected to suffer as a result.
Sales for the three months to the end of October rose 5.3 per cent, with profits improving in line.
But in the four weeks to November 24, underlying sales grew by three per cent. While food sales surged 14 per cent, bar sales were flat.
JD Wetherspoon said: 'We estimate that the reduction in like-for-like sales, combined with the current ratio of food and some stronger bar offers, were they to continue for the rest of the financial year, would reduce profits by about ten per cent.'
Prior to the announcement, the City had been looking for final profits of around pounds 64.1 million for the year to July, 2003.
Final pre-tax profits for 2002 come in at pounds 53.6 million on turnover of pounds 601.3 million.
Wetherspoon, known for its no-music rule and cheap beer and food, is run by outspoken chairman Tim Martin.
Eurosceptic Mr Martin launched a 'Let's get shot of it' campaign about the euro across Wetherspoon pubs last year.
He denied mixing politics with beer had put punters off.
'I don't think it makes much difference one way or another,' he said. …