Pre-tax losses rose from £34.1million to £154.7million in the 12 months to July 25 compared with a year earlier, while sales also plummeted by almost £500million – falling from £1.26billion to £773million
Image: Birmingham Mail)
Wetherspoons plunged to a £150million loss during lockdown as Covid forced its pubs to shut for 19 weeks.
The pub chain says this is its biggest ever financial hit.
Wetherspoon saw its pre-tax losses rise from £34.1million to £154.7million in the 12 months to July 25 compared with a year earlier.
Sales also plummeted by almost £500million – falling from £1.26billion to £773million.
Pubs and restaurants were able to open for outdoor service in England from April 12, following by indoor dining from May 17.
However, chairman Tim Martin remained hopeful about the pub chain’s signs of recovery – but only on the condition of there being no further lockdowns.
Mr Martin said sales in the past nine weeks were just 8.7% lower than the same period before the pandemic and have been improving further in the past four weeks.
However, airport sales remain low – down 47.3% on pre-pandemic levels.
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The company is also struggling to fill job vacancies in “staycation” locations across the country.
Mr Martin said: “In spite of these obstacles, Wetherspoon is cautiously optimistic about the outcome for the financial year, on the basis that there is no further resort to lockdowns or onerous restrictions.
“The biggest threat to the pub industry, and also, inter alia, to restaurants, theatres, cinemas, airlines and travel companies, relates to the precedent set by the government for the use of lockdowns and draconian restrictions, imposed under emergency powers.
“This threat, which is also a threat to civil society and democracy, has been regularly articulated by many commentators, including the former Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption.”
Wetherspoon has around 875 pubs in the UK and was founded in 1979.