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News - 21 September 2003
Wetherspoon Reels In Expansion Plans
JD Wetherspoon is partly blaming the rising cost of licensing new premises for a reduction in expansion from 87 new outlets last year to just 45 in this financial year and a further reduction next year. The control of licensing is due to pass from magistrates to local authorities next year but the exact costs will vary from borough to borough and have not been set yet. Nevertheless the industry expects the cost to rise markedly.
Wetherspoon’s like-for-like sales slowed to 3.5% in August (just over 4% in August 2002), which the chain blamed on the hot weather. Chairman Tim Martin claimed that because most of their outlets are in city centres, the opportunities for al fresco drinking in a pleasant environment are limited. The predictions for next year were similarly poor citing an anticipated £2m rise in Excise Duty which would hit profits.
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