J D Wetherspoon has revealed its financial results for the 52 weeks ended 26 July 2020, with the pub company reporting a loss before tax of £105m.
Total sales in the financial year were £1.26bn, compared to £1.82bn last year – a decrease of 30.6%.
Like-for-like sales decreased by 29.5%, having increased by 5.9% in the first half. Bar sales decreased by 29.3%, food sales by 30.1%, slot/fruit machine sales by 20.9% and hotel room sales by 38.7%.
“As a result of recent changes in regulations, the outlook for pubs over the remainder of the current financial year is even more unpredictable than hitherto,” comments Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin (pictured).
“The most damaging regulation relates to the 10pm curfew, which has few supporters outside of the narrow cloisters of Downing Street and SAGE meetings. This has meant that many thousands of hospitality industry employees, striving to maintain hygiene and social-distancing standards, go off duty at 10pm, leaving people to socialise in homes and at private events which are, in reality, impossible to regulate.
“Like-for-like sales in the first 11 weeks [of this financial year] have been 15% below those of last year, with strong sales in the first few weeks, followed by a marked slowdown since the introduction of a curfew and other regulations, some of which are referred to above.
“The recent curfew and introduction of table service only have been particularly damaging for trade, depressing sales for customers who find it too much ‘faff’, at the same time as substantially increasing costs.”
You can read Pub & Bar’s 2018 interview with Tim Martin here.