Fri, 13th Sep 2019
Tim Martin, the boss of UK pub chain JD Wetherspoon says that his customers are in good spirits and that the chain has seen rising sales in the last few months. He dismisses the Yellowhammer Brexit papers as “bollocks”.
Martin has long campaigned for Leave, and believes that the best option is a no-deal exit from the EU. He says that consumers are proving resilient and that wage growth, rising employment and low interest rates are keeping the overall mood in the market good.
Two or three years ago, there were fears that consumers were overspending and that debts were increasing. That is no longer the case. Today, household incomes are increasing and this is reflected in the mood of consumers, who generally seem unphased by the political environment.
The pub chain has reported a 7.4 percent increase in sales, up to £1.8 billion for the year leading up to July, compared to £1.7 billion for the same period a year earlier. However, the chain reported a 4.5% fall in pre-tax profits, caused in part by pub improvements such as new beer gardens and kitchen upgrades, and also partly by an increase in staff wages.
Sales in the six weeks leading up to 8 September are up by 5.9%, and Martin strongly believes that the chain will do well over the coming year, in spite of warnings from the government that food and fuel prices will increase as a result of Brexit, and that a no-deal could lead to public disorder and shortages of food, fuel and medicine. Martin is campaigning for a no-deal, eliminating tariffs no non-EU imports.