Managed operator JD Wetherspoon has moved to open later for breakfast at around 70% of its sites, writes Paul Charity. The company began opening for breakfast at 7am across its estate at the end of April. Around a week ago the company decided to keep 40% of sites open at 7am with 30% going to 8am and 30% opening at 9am. Chairman Tim Martin said: "Some pubs were not really doing any trade so we've made an adjustment although we're pleased with the overall increase in trade. "We've not really lost any sales (as a result). it's similar to what we did with late trading. "You live in hope and then make adjustments as you go along." The contraction in breakfast hours at some pubs coincides with the six-month anniversary of the move although Martin insists that is "probably coincidental". Martin also conceded that the move is influenced in part by the company's recent drop in margins. Wetherspoon has admitted that the extra breakfast hours are margin dilutive despite breaking even — average spend per head is £1.50. Martin also reported that the company has increased drinks prices by between 2-3% and food prices by 1-2% in recent weeks. He said the move had been in response to a 3% increase in pay for staff and annual RPI supplier increases in September. Asked about City concerns of the recent drop in company margins, he said, "A good managed company must have slightly oscillating margins as you respond to events. "I am always suspicious when people keep reporting the same margin or emphasise when margins are improving; there's a chance the company is screwing customers and the business." Martin also denied that the abrupt departure of chief operating office, Paul Harbottle and finance director, Keith Down amounts to a mini crisis. "We've got an experienced team — I've been here 30 years, chief executive John Hutson has been here 20 years, legal director, Sue Cacioppi has been here 20 years. "At the pub where we hold our annual general meeting I pointed out that the manager had been there fourteen and a half years and the pubs area manager had 10 years' service, in fact, the team is doing so well I'm going to test them for steroids."