Rising costs hit Wetherspoon pubs

01 November 2004
Rising costs hit Wetherspoon pubs

Stiff price competition and rising costs knocked like-for-like sales at JD Wetherspoon in the first three months of its new financial year, the pub company said today.

Like-for-like sales declined by 0.3% in the 13 weeks to 24 October, although overall sales grew by 3% to £200.5m.

The company pointed the finger of blame firmly at "price competition", which it said remained "considerable", and the rising cost of labour and utilities.

"Our net operating margins have been affected by these conditions and were approximately two percentage points lower for the three-month period compared to the same period last year," it said in a trading statement. But it also bullishly pointed out that, while margins were suffering, sales volumes were at their highest-ever level. Wetherspoon expects to announce half-year results in early March next year. by Nic Paton Buy this week's *Caterer* magazine for more industry news and analysis
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