Wetherspoons announced its trading update for the six months ending 29 January, which saw higher like-for-like sales, but concerning comments from its chairman.
The pub retailer reported like-for-like sales in the 25 weeks to 22 January up 13.1% YoY but 0.7% lower than the same period before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, over the last 12 weeks like-for-like sales gained 17.8%, however, were down 2% compared to pre-pandemic. The group continues to face higher costs compared to pre-pandemic levels, especially in respect of labour, food, energy and maintenance.
Chairman Tim Martin stated that they are “cautiously optimistic about the company’s prospects.” Martin added that supermarkets pose a threat to the hospitality sector due to the “vast disparity in tax treatment between pubs and restaurants and supermarkets.”
Therefore, the group estimates that supermarkets have taken “about half of the pub industry’s beer volumes” due to the tax benefits allowing supermarkets to subsidise the selling price of beer.