JD Wetherspoon shrugs off smoking ban


JD Wetherspoon shrugs off smoking ban
Pub company JD Wetherspoon says its third quarter sales were up 3.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis, despite smoking bans now being in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But ahead of a full ban on smoking in public places in England on July 1st the group says the costs of refurbishing its pubs could weigh on its full-year results.

In the 39 weeks to April 29th JD Wetherspoon said like-for-like sales increased by 6.1 per cent, with 11 pubs opened in the same period. The pub group intends to open a further 50 over the new two years.

More than a year on from the introduction of the smoking ban in public places in Scotland, the firm said that its 39 Scottish pubs were continuing to "perform well", with similar experiences reported in Northern Ireland and Wales post-smoking ban.

"Wetherspoon has led the industry with regard to non-smoking initiatives and has been willing to invest in the relevant areas to maximise the benefit from non-smoking legislation," a company statement said.

"This worked well with our Scottish pubs, and we have continued to take initiatives in recent months, at a level in advance of our previous plans."

A JD Wetherspoon spokesperson added that non-smoking areas in English pubs now account for 80 per cent of space, with "strong growth" in food sales reported, albeit at the expense of reduced bar traffic.

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