Wetherspoon’s Chairman Stands Firm On Brexit View

JD Wetherspoon plc has announced its preliminary results for the 53 weeks ended 30 July 2017 which will reveal increased revenue and like-for-like sales (before exceptional items) on its previous year.

Although revenue of £1.66 million was up 4.1% on 2016 and like-for-like sales similarly experiencing growth of 4%, chairman Tim Martin warned that the positive start was “unlikely to continue.”

“Since the year end, Wetherspoon’s like-for-like sales have continued to be encouraging and have increased by 6.1%,” said Martin. “This is a positive start, but is for a few weeks only – and is very unlikely to continue for the rest of the year.

“Comparisons will become more stretching – and sales, which were very strong in the summer holidays, are likely to return to more modest levels. It is anticipated that like-for-like sales of around 3–4% will be required in order to match last year’s profit before tax.

“We will provide updates as we progress through the year. We currently anticipate a trading outcome for the current financial year in line with our expectations.”

The pub operators pre-tax profit and its operating profit were both significantly up compared to last year at 15.6% and 17.1% respectively.

Martin also used the opportunity to reaffirm his belief about the possible damaging affects Brexit could have on trade.

“It is my view that the main risk from the current Brexit negotiations is not to Wetherspoon, but to our excellent EU suppliers – and to EU economies. As the public instinctively understands, but few academics, economists, boardrooms and city institutions grasp, democracy is the strongest economic steroid-hence the astonishing rise of countries like Japan, Singapore and South Korea, after its adoption. A fascinating insight into the thought processes of many pro-remain elites can be found in an article in the Spectator by Prof Robert tombs of Cambridge University.

“In the current negotiations, democratically-elected politicians from the UK are dealing with unelected oligarchs from the EU. Since the oligarchs are not subject to judgement at the ballot box, their approach is dictated by more sectarian factors-the interests and ideology of EU apparatchiks like them, rather than residents of businesses from EU countries. As a result of their current posturing and threats, EU negotiators are inevitably encouraging importers like Wetherspoon to look elsewhere for supplies. This process is unlikely to have adverse effects on the UK economy, as companies will be able to switch to suppliers representing the 93% of the world’s population is not in the EU, but this evolution will eventually be highly damaging to the economy of the EU.

“Wetherspoon is extremely confident that it can switch from EU suppliers, if required, although we would be very reluctant to initiate such actions.”