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2023 03 24T072313Z 1 LYNXMPEJ2N077 RTROPTP 4 J D WETHERSPOON RESULTS - Business Express

UK’s J D Wetherspoon returns to profit as supply issues ease

(Reuters) -British pub group J D Wetherspoon Plc on Friday posted a return to half-year profit and said sales in recent weeks have topped pre-pandemic levels.

“Supply or delivery issues have largely disappeared, for now, and were probably a phenomenon of the stresses induced by the worldwide reopening after the pandemic,” Chairman Tim Martin said in a statement.

Martin said he was “cautiously optimistic” on the company’s outlook for the year and the years ahead.

British inflation unexpectedly rose to 10.4% in February, pushed up by higher food and drink prices in pubs and restaurants.

“We expect 2023 to be a grind for pubs, with companies and consumers facing cost headwinds and a sluggish economy,” analysts at Stifel said in a note.

The pub chain, sometimes referred to “‘Spoons”, is priced lower than others in Britain. Its shares were up 4% in early trade.

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It reported a half-year profit of 4.6 million pounds ($5.7 million) versus a loss of 21.3 million in a year earlier.

It said sales in the seven weeks to March 19 were 9.1% above 2019 levels and 14.9% above a year earlier.

($1 = 0.8149 pounds)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; editing by Rashmi Aich and Jason Neely)


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