J D Wetherspoon has updated on trading, with like-for-like sales up by 6.9% in the 10 weeks to 7 July 2019.
Year-to-date like-for-like sales have increased by 6.7% and total sales increased by 7.4%.
Since the start of the financial year, the company has opened five new pubs and disposed of nine, with no further openings are expected in the current financial year.
In the current financial year to date, the company has spent £71m buying the freeholds of pubs of which it was previously the tenant and has bought back £5.4m of the company’s shares.
Around £3m of exceptional, non-cash losses are expected in this financial year, mainly a result of pub disposals which were below the value in the company’s balance sheet.
Net debt at the end of this financial year is expected to be about £745m.
Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin said the company’s expectations for its annual results is unchanged for the current financial year.
He also used the trading update as an opportunity promote his characteristically strident views on Brexit, which he said was the “main issue” for his shareholders.
Reframing ‘no deal’ as in fact a ‘multi-deal’, he argued fears of a post-referendum exodus from the City of London had been proven unfounded, while the Port of Calais, Ryanair and British Airways expect travel to carry on as normal.
“The multi-deal approach, which immediately allows the UK to trade freely with the rest of the world, is a better alternative,” he said. “As the House of Lords said in March 2017, there is then no legal liability to make any payments to the EU.
“It enables the UK to regain control of fishing and to eliminate tariffs on thousands of non-EU imports, such as bananas, rice, wine and children’s clothes - many of which are not produced in the UK.”