Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has released a brief update which reveals that in the 13 weeks to 28 October 2018, like-for-like sales increased by 5.5% and total sales by 6.2%.
The Company has opened two new pubs since the start of the financial year and has closed or sold three. We intend to open between 5 and 10 pubs in the current financial year.
A prominent supporter of Brexit and critic of the EU Tim Martin views also hit out at the EU’s “protectionism”, and made a case for free trade.
“Pro-EU arguments reached a hysterical zenith during the referendum, with the Chancellor George Osborne, the Treasury, most academics, PWC, Deloitte, most PLC directors, the CBI, the FT, the OECD and the IMF supporting the view of an immediate economic downturn in the aftermath of a Leave vote. Unsurprisingly, the opposite happened.
“About 500,000 jobs have been created since, rather than the loss of 500,000. Mortgage rates have been lower, not higher, the stock market has risen, not fallen, City jobs have increased, not declined-and so on.
“In fact, ‘no deal’ really means ‘free trade’. On 29 March next year MPs can end EU import taxes on oranges, coffee, wine, bananas, children’s clothes and 12,651 products, thereby reducing shop prices. Many commentators do not understand that the UK can adopt free trade, ending import taxes, without the need for consent or permission from the EU.
“Today, these taxes are collected by the U.K. government and sent to Brussels. So enriching the public comes at no cost to the Treasury.”
“Wetherspoon has set an example by swapping EU products like Jägermeister, Courvoisier and German beer for UK or non-EU products of equal or better quality and price. It follows that UK businesses and consumers have the power to reduce EU exports to the UK to zero, or almost zero.
“Everything that can be bought from within the protectionist EU club can be bought from the 93% of the world outside the EU – if you look hard enough.
“In a recent interview the former Chancellor George Osborne told Newsnight that “a minority of people were interested in rather esoteric issues of constitutional sovereignty.”
“In fact, the desire for democracy and self-determination is not ‘esoteric’ (ie. only the concern of a few).
“The economic truth is that no deal/free trade will leave the U.K. better off on the day we leave the EU in March next year. The risk to the future lies in staying linked to the chaotic and undemocratic Brussels regime.
“As regards Wetherspoon, sales continue to grow strongly, although ‘comparatives’ are now tougher.
“As has been widely reported, unemployment is at a record low, putting upward pressure on wages. As a result, Wetherspoon is increasing pay of our staff starting from this week.
“Having had several recent years of record profits, we are not immediately seeking to recoup these increased costs through higher pricing or ‘mitigation’, but will review that during the year.
“It is difficult to be too precise at this early stage of the current financial year, but we now expect a trading outcome slightly below that achieved in the previous financial year. We will provide further updates on our trading as we progress through the year.”