JD Wetherspoon’s sales have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Like-for-like sales in the 25 weeks to January 22 were down by 1 per cent against the last equivalent pre-Covid period.

The decline worsened in the latter part of this period, down 2 per cent over the last 12 weeks. This compares poorly to peers such as Mitchells & Butlers. A key issue is JD Wetherspoon’s customer base, which is particularly vulnerable to cost-of-living pressures. HSBC analysts said the company “is exposed to weak demographics: older age groups and lower incomes”.

They added that customers are being lost to supermarkets and home drinking, despite the company potentially benefiting from punters trading down from more expensive establishments.

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