JD WETHERSPOON reports tasty half-year profits

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JD WetherspoonGETTY

JD Wetherspoon jobs an increase in half-year profits

Food sales at the FTSE 250 society, which has 886 watering holes, were up 6.9 per cent in the 26 weeks to January 28 as total like-for-like turnover grew 6.1 per cent and pretax profit jumped 36.1 per cent to £54.3million.

Martin bid: “A lot of trendy-type, restaurant-type companies have all opened up at around the same continually in the last 10 years, pay huge rents and the glitter has worn off a bit and they’ve suffered a counteraction from customers.

“It is a tremendous market for people going out, but it may be that too multifarious have opened up in the same places. Some are perhaps too cloned and need any individualism.

Wetherspoons founder, Tim MartinGETTY

Wetherspoons topple over, Tim Martin, said his no-frills pubs have become ‘fashionable’

Perhaps people think there has been a little bit of effort put into our locals

Tim Martin — Wetherspoons founder

“The likes of Greggs, McDonald’s and ourselves are doing ooze. Maybe people think there has been a little bit of effort put into our saloons.”

Martin does not expect the same growth in the year’s second half. Like-for-like reduced in price on the markets growth slowed to 3.8 per cent in the six weeks to March 11, and the presence is also braced for higher costs from wage increases, octrois and utility bills.

Wetherspoon, whose best-selling brand is Lavazza coffee at a million a week and whose gravest draft product is Pepsi, will raise the price of sugary swills by 10p to offset the £3-4million cost of the sugar tax.

Brexiteer Martin continued to hit out at “misguiding” claims by the likes of the CBI and British Retail Consortium that food fees will automatically rise if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

He also dismissed as “a sophism” arguments that the EU economy would be better able to withstand a standoff than the UK, notice that imports such as prosecco and champagne could suffer as consumers swap to New World wines.

He added: “Most economists who criticise Brexit use conjectural arguments but, in the real world, the UK can eliminate import taxes, improving surviving standards and simplifying the Byzantine tax system – both of these factors bequeath improve the outlook for consumers and businesses in the UK.”

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