7.5k Shares

Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has revealed the chain will be slowing down the rollout of new pubs while it waits for sales to recover. 

Last March, the chain announced it will open 18 new pubs and upgrade existing ones, creating 2,000 new jobs.

However, speaking to Sky News today, he said Wetherspoon would wait for sales to get back to normal as Covid restrictions are eased before ‘we really, really go for it’.

Mr Martin, 66, who also revealed he has Covid, said Wetherspoon had lost £250 million in the last two years and has £800 million debt which ‘has to give us pause’.  

Today’s news comes after Mr Martin slammed Boris Johnson for ‘hypocrisy’ over allegations of parties at No10 during lockdown. 

Brexit-supporting Mr Martin, who once called the PM a ‘winner’, also said that pubs should have been left open during lockdown because of the ‘social and health benefits’ for people who ‘don’t or can’t attend private parties’.  

Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon

Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon

Boris Johnson during a visit to Wetherspoons Metropolitan Bar in London with Tim Martin, Chairman of JD Wetherspoon

A total of 18 new pubs will open - 15 in the UK (pictured) and three in Ireland

A total of 18 new pubs will open - 15 in the UK (pictured) and three in Ireland

A total of 18 new pubs will open – 15 in the UK (pictured) and three in Ireland

According to the plans announced last year, a total of 18 new Wetherspoon pubs will open – 15 in the UK and three in Ireland – and ‘significant extensions and upgrades’ will be made to scores of current pubs.

The new pubs will be in Kings Norton Birmingham, Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, Shawlands Glasgow, Edinburgh, Felixstowe in Suffolk, Heswall on Merseyside,  Sheffield, Leeds, Bishopston Bristol, Hamilton, Diss in Norfolk, Bourne in Lincolnshire,  Grays in Essex,  Crystal Palace in London and Ely in Cambridgeshire.

The three new Irish pubs will be in Dublin, Limerick and Galway. 

However, Mr Martin said today: ‘We hope that the virus is in retreat and that we can safely open up. We’ll be delighted if we can get back to something approaching normal.

‘It’s not sustainable for Wetherspoons to continue to make losses. We’ve lost a quarter of a billion in the last couple of years, having had 40 years nearly of profits before then. That doesn’t do anyone any good. 

‘Wetherspoon has got £800m of debt and the banks give us the debt so that we make common sense decisions. So it has to give us pause. We have to reconsider.

‘We’re going ahead with our plans, we’re putting one or two new pubs on sites but we’re waiting for the sales to get back to what they were before we really, really go for it. Very hopeful we can do that.’

A spokesman said the plans will still go ahead, with four pubs sets to open by April and existing ones set to go under major renovation.  

According to the plans announced last year, a total of 18 new Wetherspoon pubs will open - 15 in the UK and three in Ireland - and 'significant extensions and upgrades' will be made to scores of current pubs

According to the plans announced last year, a total of 18 new Wetherspoon pubs will open - 15 in the UK and three in Ireland - and 'significant extensions and upgrades' will be made to scores of current pubs

According to the plans announced last year, a total of 18 new Wetherspoon pubs will open – 15 in the UK and three in Ireland – and ‘significant extensions and upgrades’ will be made to scores of current pubs 

It came as JD Wetherspoon warned that it looks set to record a loss for the six months period to 23 January after fears surrounding the Omicron variant of Covid-19 kept people out of the pubs.

In a trading update ahead of its interim results due to be published on 18 March, the group said it saw its like-for-like sales drop by 11.7 per cent in the 25 weeks to 16 January, while total sales slipped 13.3 per cent against the same period a year earlier.   

Sales in the second quarter were hit by the ‘Plan B’ restrictions announced by the Government in December. In the three months to 16 January, like-for-like sales fell by 15.6 per cent, while total sales slumped by 16.6 per cent.

Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said: ‘As mentioned in our update on 13 December 2021, the uncertainty created by the introduction of plan B Covid-19 measures makes predictions for sales and profits hazardous.

‘The company will be loss-making in the first half of the financial year, but hopes that, with the ending of restrictions, improved customer confidence and better weather, it will have a much stronger performance in the second half.’

JD Wetherspoon also took aim at Britain’s taxation system which it argued favours supermarkets over pubs.    

It said: ‘Pubs pay 20 per cent VAT on food sales, but supermarkets pay nothing. Pubs pay around 20 pence per pint of business rates, whereas supermarkets pay around 2 pence.

‘The result is that supermarkets can afford to subsidise beer selling prices, using their tax advantage.

‘The situation is crazy. If you hold a garden party at No. 10, or Chequers for example, and buy the food from Waitrose, employing staff to prepare and serve it, no VAT is payable. However, fish and chips at your nearest pub will have 20 per cent VAT added to the bill.

‘The Chancellor temporarily reduced VAT during the pandemic – but is shortly putting it back up to 20 per cent, at a time when pubs are on their knees – and when supermarkets are reporting record profits.’

Source: Daily Mail

7.5k Shares
You May Also Like
Uncategorized

Family of Elk Grove mother killed in Florida parasailing accident files lawsuit

CHICAGO (WLS) — A mother from Elk Grove Village was killed and…

WATCH: Abigail Adams joins the CBS 42 News at Noon

MONTEVALLO, Ala. (WIAT) — With Independence Day just four days away, former…
Uncategorized

Piers Morgan: Michael Vaughan ‘cancel culture’ victim after resigning over racism claims backlash

Piers Morgan has furiously blasted the ‘bully-boy actions from a BBC pitchfork…
Uncategorized

Migrant deaths: 4 suspects charged after 53 people found dead in trailer in San Antonio, Texas, according to DOJ

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Four people have been arrested and charged in…
Uncategorized

Chicago fire: 2 more children die after West Humboldt Park basement fire, officials say, raising death toll to 3

CHICAGO (WLS) — Two more children have died after a basement fire…

Australia’s aged-care sector losing 65,000 workers every year, report finds

Australia‘s aged-care sector is short of 35,000 workers, with about 18,000 staff…
Uncategorized

R&B hitmaker R. Kelly due in court for sex abuse sentencing in New York City

NEW YORK — R&B star R. Kelly faces the possibility of a…
Uncategorized

Louisiana AG warns doctors against performing abortions

NEW ORLEANS – Arizona’s Republican attorney general on Wednesday said that a…