J D Wetherspoon has reported a 6.8% increase in like-for-like sales for the 52 weeks ended 28 July 2019.
Total sales for the period were £1,818.8m, an increase of 7.4%. Bar sales were up by 5.8%, food by 8.3%, slot/fruit machine sales by 10.3%, and hotel room sales by 3.9%.
Operating profit, before exceptional items, decreased by 0.3% to £131.9m (£132.3m in 2018).
Profit before tax and exceptional items decreased by 4.5% to £102.5m (£107.2m in 2018), including property profit of £5.6m (£2.9m in 2018).
Total capital investment for the period was £167.6m – £35.2m was invested in new pubs and pub extensions, £55.2m in existing pubs and IT, and £77.2m in freehold reversions, where Wetherspoon was already a tenant.
The company opened five pubs during the year, with nine sold or closed, resulting in a trading estate of 879 pubs at the financial year end. The average development cost for a new pub (excluding the cost of freeholds) was £2.6m, compared with £2.8m a year ago. The full-year depreciation charge was £81.8m. Wetherspoon currently intends to open 10–15 pubs in the year ending July 2020.
“Despite continuing political problems, Wetherspoon continues to perform well,” says chairman Tim Martin (pictured). “Like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 8 September 2019 were up 5.9%. We currently anticipate a reasonable outcome (pre IFRS16) for the current financial year, subject to our future sales performance.”