JD Wetherspoon was downgraded to ‘sell’ by Altium Securities this morning after releasing what was described by as a ‘disappointing’ trading statement. Greg Feehely, analyst at Altium, criticised the company for lacking in ‘exciting growth’ and falling behind its yield trends. As a result Altium has cut forecasts for the company by 3%. Prior to the announcement, analysts had expected the company to post profits of between £57m and £61m for the year to July 31. Wetherspoon warned that annual profits would be at the lower end of market hopes after experiencing a sales slowdown in 2004. Euro 2004 is also expected to have a negative effect on sales, given that the company has no televisions at the majority of its sites. In a trading update, Wetherspoon said that like-for-like sales had improved by 3.7% in the 13 weeks to April 25 - slower than the 4.5% growth seen in the year to date. Overall sales also struggled to maintain the pace of growth in the third quarter, rising by 6.5% against a 9.4% increase in the financial year so far. Wetherspoon said: "Our year-to-date profit performance continues to reflect the impact of previously highlighted cost pressures." The group said it expanded its estate with nine new pubs over the past three months, following eight openings in the first half of the year. The disposal of ten pubs "progressing satisfactorily" with potential buyers.