JD Wetherspoon H1 23 – 24/03 – has got off to a strong start to the year share price-wise despite the disruptions brought about by high energy prices, staff shortages, as well as strike disruption at the end of last year. In the 12-week period to 22 January sales were higher by 17.8%, however, compared to pre-pandemic levels, sales were still down by 2%.
Not surprisingly costs are also higher, with the company still looking to offload some of its underperforming pubs. It has sold 10 so far for a net inflow of £2.9M, with another 35 pubs still on the market. The outlook continues to be uncertain with chairman Tim Martin once again challenging the logic of a tax system that allows alcohol to be zero-rated for VAT in supermarkets, but charged at 20% in all hospitality settings.