U.S. News

U.K.'s Wetherspoon on Track as Sales Rise


Pub group JD Wetherspoon said on Wednesday it was on track to meets its financial forecasts for the year, helped by a 4.9% rise in sales in the last 11 weeks.

The pub firm, which has made its name selling drinks and food at lower prices than rivals, said like-for-like sales in the 11 weeks to July 15 were up 4.9%, while year-to-date sales were up 5.8%.

On average, 18 analysts polled by Reuters Estimates expect the firm to post a pretax profit of 62.95 million pounds ($128.3 million) for the year.

Wetherspoon said that the recently imposed smoking bans in England and Wales had led to a dip in margins, with a rise in food sales countered by a drop in drinks sales.

It added that it would also open around 30 new pubs next year and said that it expected a "reasonable outcome" financially as long as cost inflation did not go out of control.

"The outlook for 2008 involves more uncertainty than usual, in the light of the smoking ban, although the company has been encouraged by the sales performance in the relevant areas so far," Wetherspoon said in a statement.