JD Wetherspoon (JDW), the managed pub operator, has this morning reported a slowdown in like-for-like sales over the 11 weeks to 10 July, as rising costs and the squeeze on consumer spending impacted trading. In a trading statement, the company reported a 1.6% increase in like-for-like sales for the 11 weeks to 10 July, and said it expected to produce a “reasonable outcome” in its current financial year. In May, the c.780-strong company reported that like-for-like sales for the 39 weeks to 24 April were up by 2.4%. The company, which is led by Tim Martin, said that total company sales for the 11 weeks to 10 July increased by 7.1%. It said that like-for-like sales increased by 2.2% for the 50 weeks to 10 July, with overall company sales up by 7.5%. The group said that it currently anticipates reporting an operating margin (before exceptionals) for the second half of its financial year of approximately 9.5%. For the financial year-to-date, the company has opened 38 pubs and disposed off two. It anticipates opening approximately 50 pubs in the current financial year. The company said it continued to be faced with “rising costs for a wide range of goods and services, combined with a reduction in disposable income for many of its customers”. Martin told M&C Report: “Consumers are faced with a Victorian corset-type squeeze at the moment and it is difficult, if not impossible, to get sales increases. Therefore we are happy with this solid set of figures but not ecstatic.” The company said that sales and cashflow continued to be resilient and the performance of its recently opened pubs remained encouraging, which Martin said “should enable the company to produce a reasonable outcome in the current financial year”.