Pub group JD Wetherspoon has blamed the squeeze on consumers' income for a 0.2% drop in operating margins to 9.3% for the first quarter of its financial year.
Like-for-like sales rose 1.1% and total sales were up 7.3% over the 13 weeks to 23 October 2011.
Wetherspoon also warned of increases in costs, including utilities, labour, and bar and food supplies. But it reserved the bulk of its criticism for increases in taxation and regulation
The company opened eight new pubs in the quarter and still plans to open 50 during the year.
By Neil Gerrard
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