Pub chain Wetherspoon today revealed the current economic climate will help expand its property estate. Speaking at the presentation of the company’s full year results – where the company revealed a drop of 1.1% in like-for-like sales – chief executive officer John Hutson said that freeholds and leaseholds were cheaper than a year ago. He said that out 51 rent reviews that had taken place in the past year 20 or more of them had been done at a nil increase. Hutson added that the rest had been ‘around inflation’. He said: “We have now lapsed the smoking ban which only started to bite as autumn drew in last year. “On the property front we feel that the current economic climate in many ways might assist us. That’s in terms of buying freeholds, that are cheaper than they were last year. The commercial property market is a little bit softer. “Or it could assist us in agreeing new leaseholds at rents that are at lower levels than they were in the last year or two. Or in terms of acquiring pubs from other companies that have run into financial difficulty themselves.” He added: “That given those opportunities for growth and what we consider a resilient performance we can enter this new financial year confident of our long term performance.”