Shares in UK-listed pubs operator JD Wetherspoon jumped 3% on Wednesday morning after the market cheered its second-quarter fiscal trading update.
Wetherspoon said like-for-like sales rose 6% over its fiscal 2018 second quarter, ending on 21 January. Total sales increased by 4.3%.
“As a result of better-than-expected sales, year-to-date underlying profit before tax is slightly ahead of our expectations,” said the group.
Wetherspoon, however, cautioned that similar outperformance in the second half of its fiscal year would be “more difficult to achieve”.
Wetherspoon revealed it had opened three new pubs and sold ten since the beginning of its financial year.
It has plans to open another ten pubs over the next six months.
The company said it had spent £15m on buying the freeholds of pubs that were previously tenanted.
The group´s financial results appear to be much less divisive than the much-reported political and economic commentary of pro-Brexit Wetherspoon chairman, Tim Martin.
Martin began his comments on the latest trading update by lambasting those who he deemed to have been overly pessimistic in forecasting the UK´s economic outlook post-Brexit vote.
“Most economists, business organisations and universities made extremely pessimistic forecasts about the immediate aftermath of a leave vote in the referendum, which have proven to be highly inaccurate. The Treasury, the IMF and the OECD were also key participants in this chorus. Their erroneous views lend weight to Warren Buffett’s aphorism that most forecasts tell you a lot about the forecaster, but nothing about the future,” said Martin.
On Wetherspoon´s financial performance, Martin pointed out that the second quarter had matched the strong growth of the first quarter.
Explaining the group´s caution on the outlook for the second half of the fiscal year, Martin said: “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.”
The group, which is known for keeping television football off its premises, reported weaker sales during the 2014 World Cup.