High street pub chain JD Wetherspoon is on track to open approximately 25 pubs in the current financial year, the company said yesterday.
The firm, which has expanded the food side of its business in recent years, has so far opened five new pubs in this fiscal year. It currently has 12 sites under development.
In a trading update to the market, JD Wetherspoon said that like-for-like sales grew 8% in the first 11 weeks of its Q2 (to 13 January). Total sales increased by 11%.
The company did warn, however, of pressure on its cost base. It expects the operating margin for the half year ending 27 January to be around 8.2%, approximately 1.1% lower than the last financial year.
It said the anticipated drop was due to slightly higher than expected increases in costs in areas such as tax, utilities, labour and bar and food supplies, combined with increased marketing costs.
The company added: “Our sales, profit and cash flow continue to be resilient, in spite of the continuing taxation and regulation burden on the pub industry and the on-going pressure on consumer’s disposable incomes. The board expects a reasonable outcome for the current financial year.”
Wetherspoons currently operates more than 800 pubs across the UK.