Wetherspoons in the red, £20.7m operating loss
JD Wetherspoon reported a half-year pre-tax loss of £46.2 million as pandemic restrictions forced hundreds of its pubs to close through important holiday seasons.
The pub giant operating loss hit £20.7m, while revenue sunk by more than 53% to £431.1 million.
Like-for-like sales were also down by almost 54 per cent for the six months ended 24 January 2021 as national lockdowns heavily hit pubs across the UK.
On St Patrick’s Day alone, pubs lost out on 14 million sales of pints, while £8.2bn in trade value was lost from the sector just in beer sales since the first round of lockdowns last year, the British Beer and Pub Association estimated this week.
JD Wetherspoon chairman, Tim Martin, has criticised the everchanging government guidelines and says the future of the industry will require consistency.
“It is disappointing that so many regulations, implemented at tremendous cost to the nation, appear to have had no real basis in common sense or science – for example, curfews, “substantial meals” with drinks and masks for bathroom visits.
“The future of the industry, and of the UK economy, depends on a consistent set of sensible policies, and the ending of lockdowns and tier systems, which have created economic and social mayhem and colossal debts, with no apparent health benefits.”
End of covid lockdown
In April, JD Wetherspoon is set to open outdoor spaces in 394 pubs – but the pubs will operate with a reduced menu and shorter days.
Their decision is in line with restriction easing on 12 April to allow hospitality to open up outdoor space for customers.
From Sunday to Thursday the pubs will be open from 9am until 9pm, and on Friday and Saturday the pubs will stay open until 10pm.
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