On the back of JD Wetherspoon’s latest trading update yesterday, analyst Goodbody gives its views on the pub operator’s performance and said the numbers indicate a good finish to the year.

Goodbody has described JD Wetherspoon’s trading update, for the 10 weeks to 7 July 2019, as “a strong finish to the year” in like-for-like terms, given the difficult weather comparables, and the softer trends noted in the recent Coffer Peach Tracker.

“JDW continues to perform very well from a topline perspective. On outlook the Chairman notes that: “As regards Wetherspoon, the company’s expectation for our annual results is unchanged for the current financial year”,” read the note.

Goodbody forecasts full year PBT at -5% year-on-year, to £102m, in line with previous management guidance and consensus.

Goodbody said the key point it took away during an analysts’ call following the morning update, was that management appeared confident in the £104m profit forecast that its company broker has published, despite noting that is was too early for 2020 forecasts.

Management do not expect to dispose of any further sites in FY19. It had put 20 pubs on the market but has since reduced this number, and is likely to dispose of 11-12 over the next 18 months, said Goodbody.

The analyst said that overall it had some concerns during the last call (Q3) that the group would need 6% LFL’s to advance profits in FY20.

“Although the group was slow to fully commit to the level of repairs/wage increases in FY20, it felt to us that there is enough flex in the “voluntary investment” cost lines to allow the group to return to YoY PBT growth. We are unlikely to make any meaningful changes to our FY20 forecasts at this point in time,” said the note.