Smoking ban legislation preparations hit Wetherspoon's profits
In a third quarter trading update, Watford-based pub group JD Wetherspoon said that like-for-like sales were up over three per cent, but that it expects full year profits to be marginally below expectations.
It forecast the decreased profits, citing an increase in pub repairs in anticipation of non-smoking legislation for English pubs. In Wales, were the legislation passed at the start of April, it said that results were in line with its Scottish experience.
The firm said that Q3 like-for-like sales were up 3.4 per cent, with year to date sales up 6.1 per cent and overall company sales up 7.2 per cent.
Wetherspoon has increased the amount of non-smoking customer space to about 80 per cent of capacity, resulting in a drop in bar volumes, but strong growth in food sales, it said.
In addition to the seven new sites the company has opened this year, it said it expects a further 20 this year, with an additional 30 the following financial year.
Wetherspoon's share price has seen a four per cent drop in value, losing 30p to 680p.