Pub giant ‘confident of future growth’, regardless of indyref outcome
By Gillian McKenzie
PUB giant JD Wetherspoon was due to launch its latest pub in Peebles this week, taking its Scottish estate to 70.
And the company, which has more than 900 pubs across the UK, said it is “confident of future growth” north of the border, regardless of the outcome of the independence referendum on September 18.
The launch of The Cross Keys in Peebles as SLTN went to press came just a week after Wetherspoon opened The Auld Brig in Irvine and The Crossed Peels in Stirling.
The Stirling outlet got the green light last May after fellow pubco Greene King sought a judicial review of the board’s decision to grant a licence for the premises.
Located in a former office block on Stirling’s Spittal Street, The Crossed Peels is on two levels and features two bars, a main beer garden and a small pavement cafe area to the front of the outlet; the pub group spent a claimed £1.7 million developing the new site.
Wetherspoon has a number of other pubs north of the border currently in the pipeline, including an outlet in Fraserburgh, which is due to open next month. It also plans to open two pubs in Edinburgh – one in the former Picture House and one in the unit occupied by Kushi’s restaurant on Victoria Street; and there are further plans for a pub in Largs.
The pub group’s spokesman, Eddie Gershon, said: “Wetherspoon continues to enjoy great success in Scotland and this is evident in the number of openings in recent months and the level of investment in those pubs.
“We are confident of future growth in Scotland regardless of its future direction and are looking forward to opening many more pubs in the coming years.”
News of the Scottish expansion came as JD Wetherspoon posted a 4.9% rise in like-for-like sales for the ten weeks to July 6, while total sales were up 10.3%.
The pre-close statement, issued ahead of the end of its current financial year on July 27, revealed like-for-like sales in the year to date (49 weeks to July 6) increased 5.4%, while total sales were up 9.8%.
Wetherspoon said sales across its pubs had been “slightly weaker” during the World Cup.