JD Wetherspoon has reported a 3.5% sales increase in the 13 weeks up to 29 April 2018.
The pub group’s like-for-like sales increased by 3.5% and total sales increased by 2.8%. Year-to-date like-for-like sales have increased by 5.2% and total sales have increased by 3.8%.
The third quarter last year included the early May bank holiday, unlike this year, which the group says is likely to have reduced like-for-like sales by roughly 0.5%.
Since the start of the financial year, the company has opened five new pubs and sold 19. It said it intended to open one further pub in the current financial year.
JD Wetherspoon has spent £15.4m on buying the freeholds of pubs in which it was previously a leaseholding tenant and has bought back £51.6m of shares in the financial year to date.
The chairman of JD Wetherspoon, Tim Martin, said: “As anticipated, the rate of like-for-like sales growth slowed slightly in the third quarter. We continue to face significant cost increases in the second half in areas which include labour, business rates and the sugar tax. There is also some uncertainty as to the effect on sales of the FIFA World Cup.
“We continue to anticipate a trading outcome for this financial year in line with our previous expectations.”