Britain's J D Wetherspoon reported a higher annual pretax profit on Friday as more Britons visited its pubs even though overall consumer confidence and spending came under pressure due to Brexit uncertainties.
The company, which operates more than 900 pubs in Britain and Ireland, said pretax profit after exceptional items rose to 95.4 million pounds for the year ended July 28 from 89 million pounds a year earlier.
Pretax profit before exceptional items, however, fell 4.5% to 102.5 million pounds.
Wetherspoon, like most restaurant chains in the country, has been battling increased costs due to a minimum wage hike, higher property prices and power bills. The company has also been investing in more labour intensive food and coffee business.
Total sales rose 7.4% to 1.82 billion pounds, while like-for-like sales rose by 6.8%, with a jump in bar and food sales.
"Despite continuing political problems ... Wetherspoon continues to perform well. Like-for-like sales for the six weeks to 8 September 2019 were up 5.9%," Chairman Tim Martin said in a statement.
The company's performance comes at a time when UK's pub sector is brimming with deals. Rival Greene King is set to be bought by Hong-Kong's Ck Asset for 4.6 billion pounds, while Slug and Lettuce pub chain owner Stonegate has agreed to buy Ei Group for 1.27 billion pounds.
Greene King said earlier this year that a wet summer and poor sentiment had hurt its sales in its new financial year, after reporting a higher-than-expected annual profit in the previous 12 months. (Reuters)