The freezing January weather has hit sales at pub operator JD Wetherspoon.
In a trading update this morning, the company said that it saw like-for-like sales for the first 12 weeks of its second quarter (to 17 January 2010) fall 0.3% as punters struggled to get to its pubs.
The drop came despite a positive performance over the festive period, with like-for-like sales up 1.2% in the 10 weeks to 3 January. Total sales in the same period were up 5.3%, compared to 4.5% in the first quarter.
The figures come ahead of the company's interim results for the six months ending 24 January 2010, which are set to be announced on 12 March.
JD Wetherspoon said it expected operating margins for the half year to be "in line with the same period" last year, with the benefit from lower energy costs offset by a higher level of repairs expenditure.
It said that it was also in dicussions with banks over the refinancing of its £435m borrowing facility, which expires in December 2010.
Borrowings over the past 12 months fell by around £50m, after accounting for the opening of 33 new pubs.
The company has opened 15 new pubs so far this financial year and ceased trading in 2 pubs, following the closure of Heathrow Terminal 2, bringing its total number of pubs to 744.
By Neil Gerrard
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