Pubs alert

‘Lockdown by stealth’, says Wetherspoon chairman

JD Wetherspoon

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon warned of a hit to first half profits, blaming what it called “arbitrary” Covid rule changes by the UK government.

In a trading update, Wetherspoon said “uncertainty, and the introduction of radical changes of direction by the government, make predictions for sales and profits hazardous”.

Chairman Tim Martin said: “The repeated warnings and calls for restrictions, mainly from Sage [committee] members and academics, combined with arbitrary changes of direction from the government, invariably at short notice, affect customer sentiment and trade.

“In effect, the country appears to be heading towards a lockdown by stealth.”

His comments may have won support from other hospitality businesses did not impress investors who marked the shares 47p or 5.42% lower at 817p.

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