Euro 2004 depresses like-for-like sales at Wetherspoon

13 July 2004
Euro 2004 depresses like-for-like sales at Wetherspoon

The Euro 2004 football tournament put the damper on like-for-like sales at pub chain JD Wetherspoon over the 11 weeks to 11 July.

The group also blamed stronger competition from supermarkets and other pubs for flat like-for-like sales during the period.

Wetherspoon pubs increased like-for-like sales by 1% in the first seven weeks, before the tournament started.

Only a minority of Wetherspoon pubs have TVs. However, the company added TVs to a ‘few dozen' more pubs for the competition but like-for-like sales only grew during England's matches and were negative for the games overall.

The group's efforts to comply with drives to combat binge-drinking by switching to lower-strength drinks weakened sales of spirits and cocktails.

Total sales grew by 2.8% in the 11 weeks to £167.7m, with year-to-date sales up by 7.8% to £753.3m.

But the group warned that current growth levels combined with increasing costs would see full-year pre-tax profits fall short of current forecasts. It expects a 40% hike in gas and electricity charges to cost it approximately £4m.

Wetherspoon will have opened 28 pubs in the year to 25 July, and has exchanged contracts on five of 10 pubs earmarked for disposal.

by Angela Frewin

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