JD Wetherspoons has reported a pre-tax loss of £68m in its preliminary results for the 26 weeks ended 24 January 2021.
Revenue fell 54% to £431.1m from £933m in the period, while like-for-like sales declined 54% which was attributed to the disruption in trading due to lockdown restrictions.
In its latest results, the company confirmed it had lowered its pricing on a wide range of products, including food, soft drinks and real ale after the chancellor announced a six-month extension to the temporary reduction of VAT to 5% from 20%.
It reiterated that “if the chancellor decides to make these VAT reductions permanent, the company intends to retain these lower prices indefinitely”.
During the period, the company also opened two new pubs and closed or sold two, bringing the number open at the period end to 872. Following a review of its estate in recent years, the group placed around 100 pubs on the market, most of which have now been sold.
Commenting on the results, Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoon, said: “It is disappointing that so many regulations, implemented at tremendous cost to the nation, appear to have had no real basis in common sense or science – for example, curfews, “substantial meals” with drinks and masks for bathroom visits.
“The future of the industry, and of the UK economy, depends on a consistent set of sensible policies, and the ending of lockdowns and tier systems, which have created economic and social mayhem and colossal debts, with no apparent health benefits.”