Breakfasts nudge Wetherspoon sales towards £1bn
13 September, 2010
Sales at pub chain J D Wetherspoon finished just shy of the £1bn mark in the year to 25 July 2010—but were still 4.3% up on the previous year after another record 12 months for the business.
Revenue across the chain totalled £996m, up from £955m in the year to July 2009. On a like for like basis—excluding new openings—they edged up just 0.1%, though in a tough year for the trade that figure represents a sound performance. Pre-tax profits were £71m, up by 7.3% year on year.
The sales figure is the highest since Wetherspoon’s was founded in 1983, and the 27th year in a row in which it has recorded an increase. Breaking down the figures, Wetherspoon said bar sales had slipped 0.8% in the year on a like-for-like basis, while food rose 0.1% and machine sales climbed 12.1%. The chain opened 47 new pubs in the year, bringing its total to 775 by the year-end. It said it would open at least as many in the current financial year.
Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said the chain would also press on with its breakfast offer, launched across its estate earlier this year, and claimed Wetherspoon was now selling 400,000 breakfasts and 600,000 coffees a week. “We continue to make lots of small improvements in diverse areas of the business, creating momentum in the services and facilities offered to customers, as well as as sales and profits for the company.
Performance highlights singled out by Wetherspoon included real ale, sales of which grew by 6% in the year; and fundraising, which saw it raise £890,000 for CLIC Sargeant. Personnel strategies saw it stage 1,000 training sessions for 15,000 delegates, while 1,500 bar and kitchen staff were promoted to management positions. Staff retention was at its highest ever level, it said.
Wetherspoon said trading since the year-end had been strong, with like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 5 September up by 1.5%. But Martin warned that Government measures risked damaging fragile consumer confidence and trade. “The biggest danger to the pub and catering industry is a continued increase in taxes and regulations. It is to be hoped that the UK Government’s attitude towards pubs, in particular, changes, and that a co-operative and helpful, rather than a punitive, approach is adopted.”