Wetherspoon beats recession with 41% increase in first half profits

Pub group JD Wetherspoon is continuing to avoid the recessionary blues with pre-tax profits for the first half of the year showing a 41.4% increase.

The company, which has 746 pubs across Britain, said underlying pretax profit rose to £36.2m in the 26 weeks to January 24, compared to £26.5m in the previous year.

The pub group which specialises in cheap drinks and meals offerings for families and students has contibued to perform well, despite the “staycation” trend seeing more people buying alcohol from supermarkets.

Its turnover also increasd by 4.1% to £488.1m, compared to £468.7m in the year before, allowing the group to open 17 new pubs, with only two being forced out of business in the recession.

Tim Martin, chairman of J D Wetherspoon, says: “Sales and profits in the six months under review were at record levels, notwithstanding the immense pressure on the pub business from government legislation, thanks, above all, to the great efforts of all of our staff. Trading in the 6 weeks to 7 March 2010 continues on a similar trend to last year, with like-for-like sales down 0.4% and total sales increasing by 3.9%. As a result of our sales, profits and free cash flow, together with our continued efforts to improve every area of the business, I remain confident of our future prospects.”

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