JD Wetherspoon said this morning that its business remains in a good place after revealing that year-to-date like-for-like sales are up 6.7% and 7.4% overall.
In a pre-close trading statement for the year to 28 July 2019, the 900-strong pub chain said that sales over the last 10 weeks were up 7% as consumers continued to spend in its outlets.
Since the start of its financial year, the company has opened five new pubs and disposed of nine. No further openings are expected in the current financial year.
At this stage, it expects to record about £3m of exceptional, non-cash losses, mainly as a result of pub disposals which were below the value in its balance sheet.
The company has spent £71m buying the freeholds of pubs of which it was previously the tenant during the past year and has bought back £5.4m of its shares.
Bosses at the firm described it as being in a “sound” financial position. Net debt at the end of the financial year is expected to be about £745m.
Chairman and staunch ‘Leave’ supporter chairman, Tim Martin, once again used the update to issue his thoughts on Brexit and said the company was well-prepared for Britain to exit the EU without a deal.
“Wetherspoon, for example, has made arrangements to replace French champagne and brandy, and German beer, with alternatives from the UK, Australia and America. In addition, most spirits and beer exports to the EU from non-EU countries are not subject to tariffs, in any event.”
JD Wetherspoon’s preliminary results are due to be announced on 13 September 2019.