J D Wetherspoon has reported a 5.2% uplift in like-for-like (lfl) sales in the 13 weeks to 28 April 2024.

Total sales increased 3.3% in the quarter and 6.5% year to date. Year-to-date lfl sales have increased 8.3%.

The last week of the period included a bank holiday weekend last year, whereas the bank holiday was a week later this year. Excluding that week, lfl sales for the first 12 weeks of the period rose 6%.

The company has opened two pubs and sold or surrendered 18 pubs to the landlord in the year to date.

Most of these were smaller or older pubs, or where the company has a second pub in reasonably close proximity. There was a net cash inflow of £6.8m from 18 disposals.

17 trading pubs remain on the market or under offer. The company currently has an estate of 809 venues.

As at 28 April 2024, net debt stood at £685m.

Chairman Tim Martin said: “Sales in the period continued the steady recovery from the pandemic.

“Traditional ales, which were very slow in the aftermath of the lockdowns, are increasing momentum, with Abbot Ale, Ruddles Bitter and Doom Bar showing good growth, as indeed are ales from the many small and micro brewers with which we trade.

“The gods of fashion have smiled upon Guinness, previously consumed by blokes my age, but now widely adopted by younger generations.

“Also selling well among younger generations are Au Vodka from Swansea and XIX flavoured vodkas, the latter promoted by the hugely popular Sidemen.

“Wine has been on the comeback trail, with Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, from New Zealand, popular among Wetherspoon representatives of the chattering classes.

“Sales of Lavazza coffee are also increasing. Free refills are thought to be responsible for spontaneous exhibitions of breakdancing among retired customers.

“Our new menu, launched last week, has had a promising start, with some kindly reviewers comparing new dishes favourably with respected competitors:


“The company expects profits in the current financial year to be towards the top of market expectations.”