Austen Shakespeare

Wetherspoons reports mixed results in first 15 weeks of financial year

Wetherspoons has reported like-for-like sales for the first 15 weeks of the financial year are 8.9 per cent lower than sales achieved in the same period in 2019.

Bar sales were -9.6 per cent, food -8.1 per cent, fruit/slot machines -12.3 percent and hotels were +11.5 percent. This is, however, an improvement compared to sales of -17.8 per cent in the last 10 weeks of the previous financial year, when pubs reopened inside.

In the last 15 weeks, there has been a considerable increase in sales of the range of drinks often consumed by younger customers, for example cocktails (+45 per cent), vodka (+17 per cent) and rum (+26 per cent).

In contrast, sale of traditional ales are down by 30 per cent and stout down by 20 per cent.

Food volumes appear to have been affected by some customers working from home, with breakfasts, for example, down by 22 per cent and coffee down by 30 per cent.

Contrary to some forecasts trade has been positive in the centre of many, but not all, larger cities and towns - and negative in the suburbs.

For example, sales have been positive in in central Liverpool (+9.1 per cent), Newcastle Upon Tyne (+11.1 per cent), Oxford (+11.3 per cent), Chester (+4.3 per cent), Bournemouth (+4.2 per cent), Nottingham (+3.6 per cent), and Cardiff (+3.5 per cent). In contrast, trade has been lower in central London (-17.4 per cent).

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “As outlined in our annual report, published in October 2021, there have been no outbreaks of Covid-19, as defined by the health authorities, among customers in Wetherspoon pubs.

“However, some customers have been understandably cautious. Improvement in trade will therefore depend, to some extent, on the outlook for the Covid-19 virus.

“Whereas we have an increased element of caution about near-term sales, ‘booster’ vaccinations and better weather in the spring are likely to have a positive impact in the coming months.”

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