Wetherspoon offloads 26 pubs

10th July 2024 | Jack Oliver

JD Wetherspoon has sold or surrendered to the landlord 26 pubs in the year-to-date, leaving it with a trading estate of 801 venues.

The pub chain said that most of the disposals were smaller and older pubs, or in areas where it has a second pub in close proximity.

JD Wetherspoon said the disposals produced a net cash inflow of £8.7m.

The chain currently has 10 trading pubs which are on the market or under offer.

This comes as the group posts a pre-close trading update, with its preliminary results set to be published in October.

In the year-to-date, the chain’s like-for-like sales were up by 7.7%, and the group estimates that its net debt will be approximately £670 million at the end of the financial year.

JD Wetherspoon also announced that it had signed a new four-year £840 million banking agreement on “attractive terms” earlier this month.

Tim Martin, chair of JD Wetherspoon, said: “The gradual recovery in sales and profits, following the pandemic, has continued in the current financial year.

“Total sales are, again, at record levels, with fewer pubs. Sales per pub are approximately 21% higher than pre-pandemic levels, which has helped to compensate for the very substantial increase in costs.”

He added: “Notwithstanding these cost pressures, the company continues to endeavour to “widen the moat” by investing in areas such as beer gardens, staff rooms, above-bar glass racks and improved beer dispense systems. […] We are also continuing to open new pubs, with openings in the next few months, for example, in Waterloo and Fulham Broadway stations in London, and in Marlow in Buckinghamshire.”

The chain said it expects profits in the current financial year to be in line with market expectations.

Earlier this year, JD Wetherspoon said that it has potential for about 1,000 pubs in the UK, despite reducing the size of its estate.


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