Belfast Telegraph

Fairweather drinkers prove a tonic for JD Wetherspoon chain

Sales at JD Wetherspoon have been boosted by warm summer weather over the past three months, as the pub chain's Brexit-backing chairman launched another invective aimed at Remainers.

Like-for-like sales rose 5.3% in the 11 weeks to July 9 and total sales rising 3.6%, with Tim Martin saying the performance was "probably helped by unusually good weather".

In the year to date, like-for-like sales increased by 3.9% and total sales rose by 1.9%.

Since the Brexit vote, Mr Martin has accused the EU of bullying the UK and used several company updates to rip into German chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

He has also lashed out at former chancellor George Osborne, the IMF, the Bank of England, the CBI, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and PwC, who he claims were too negative about the impact of a Leave vote.

On Wednesday, Mr Martin again took aim at "gloomsters", urging them to "put a sock in it".

He said: "The majority of the public instinctively understands the Government's bargaining dilemma.

"Yet the supposedly sophisticated CBI, the Financial Times, the Times and the other usual suspects are vociferous in their forecasts of trouble in the absence of a free trade deal.

"As a result, they are loading the dice hugely in favour of EU negotiators.

"The public's message to Carolyn 'we're all doomed' Fairbairn, head of the CBI, and other gloomsters is: put a sock in it.

"We'll do well with or without a free trade deal, so stop tying the hands of our negotiators, who are doing their best to achieve a respectable outcome."

Despite his diehard Brexit stance, Mr Martin last month announced Wetherspoon's biggest ever single investment will go into the European Union through the development of a new pub and 98-bedroom hotel in Dublin city centre.

Slapping down Mr Martin, a CBI spokesperson said: "Rather than slinging mud, Mr Martin should know that all the major UK business groups have made clear the risks to the economy of leaving the EU without a deal.

"The prospect of multiple cliff edges - in tariffs, red tape and regulation - is already casting a long shadow over investment decisions for many firms in this country.

"The CBI and the wider business community is committed to making a success of the negotiations and helping to secure the most ambitious and comprehensive free trade deal ever agreed."

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