On Friday 13th September J D Wetherspoon (JDW), the British pub group, reported a 4% drop in pre-tax profits totalling £102.5m, according to the Financial Times. Its owner, the prominent brexiteer Tim Martin, recently hit out “Oxbridge Remainers’ for ignoring the long-term benefits of leaving the European Union.
The first J D Wetherspoon pub was founded in 1979. The group now operates over 900 pubs in Britain and Ireland, with its cheap pints attracting a demographic variety, from students, to hen nights, to codgers and sports fans. Increasingly it offers reasonably priced food and Sunday roasts.
Like all pubs and restaurant chains Martin’s company has been forced to contend with higher property costs, higher power bills and minimum wage hikes. Nonetheless total sales rose 7.4% to £1.82bn (GBP).
The Brexit-backing-boss has promised to slash the beer prices in up to 700 of his pubs by 20 pence if Britain leaves the EU “properly on October 31st”. In a statement following the company’s recent report Tim Martin opined that: “Despite continuing political problems… Wetherspoon continues to perform well.”
The British pub sector has seen a rush of M&A activity in recent months, with the Slug and Lettuce chain set to be acquired by Ei Group (EIGE) for £1.27bn and the longrunning Greene King expected to be bought by Hong Kong’s richest man Li Ka Shing for £4.6bn (1113.HK).
Photo: Claudio Divizia