Management at the UK pub chain Wetherspoon has revealed that the downturn in the economy has helped it advance in the hotel market. Speaking at the presentation of last week's full year results – where the company revealed a like-for-like sales growth in its food operations – chief executive John Hutson said the credit crunch was providing the company with opportunities to expand its property portfolio in 'market towns'. He said Wetherspoon would not challenge the 'big boys' but added it was the successes of Travelodge and Premier Inn that was helping it to enter the hotel market. Hutson said: “It's not that we have particular ambitions in the hotel market – but we have been able to pick up some nice market town hotels that typically have 20 to 30 rooms. “I think it is the fact that Travelodge and Premier Inn have done so well that has put pressure on these types of property, in these types of towns, which then gives us plenty of opportunity to expand.” Hutson added the company had opened new Wetherspoon pubs with rooms in Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire and in Bewdley in Worcestershire. The company now has 13 Wetherlodges in its property portfolio.