Leading analysts have welcomed a positive set of results from JD Wetherspoon this morning, saying its strong start to the year may indicate “significant market share shifts”.

Douglas Jack at Peel Hunt upgraded his forecasts for JDW by 5% to reflect 2017’s forecast beat and strong start to 2018E.

He said: “JDW has benefited from a rarity: a year in which the tax take fell as a percentage of sales, from 42.1% to 41.8%. 2018E will be very different, due partly to the return of the beer duty escalator, with the sugar tax to follow. JDW trades on a higher EV/EBITDA (9.3x) than freehold peers (8.9x). Given the valuation and consumer outlook,we recommend taking profits.”

Anna Barnfather at Liberum said: “These results show continued benefit from price increases and consolidating its loyal customer base into fewer sites by disposing of secondary/tertiary locations – the impact of which will fade into 2018 and beyond hence we maintain HOLD.”

Simon French, at Cenkos, said: “With Wetherspoon reporting 6.1% LFL sales growth for the last six weeks there are clearly significant market share shifts occurring as customers appear to alter their visiting and spending patterns.”