Pub chain JD Wetherspoon hailed its best ever annual results today after the company went back to basics to ride out the recession.
The group reported underlying pre-tax profits up 13.6% to £66.2m and sales of £955.1m in the year to July 26 — a record since the firm was incorporated in 1983, according to Wetherspoon.
The chain, which has 731 pubs, said it took lessons from the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s to combat tough trading conditions, “concentrating on the key ingredients of standard, service, staff training and incentives”.
On a reported basis, property devaluations and impairment charges of more than £21m left bottom-line profits 16.9% lower at £45m.
Like-for-like sales held firm over the year, up 1.2% and increasing to growth of 2% in the final weeks, although more recent figures for the six weeks to September 6 show this had eased back to 1.2%.
Chairman Tim Martin, who was born in Northern Ireland, said sales since July had also been strong. Real ale sales also continued to improve, the company added, with sales rising 17%.
Wetherspoon, which has been operating in Northern Ireland since 2000, has eight bars across the province.
Wetherspoon led a series of cut-price promotions to attract hard-up consumers as the recession bore down last year.