Wetherspoon pubs look to March reopening after 'zero' sales in 2021
- Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant
Pub giant JD Wetherspoon, which has many venues in Suffolk and Essex, says it is burning through £4.1m a week while its pubs are closed.
The chain revealed it doesn't expect its 800-plus pubs to open again until at least the end of March, and said it has made "zero" sales so far in 2021 due to the closures during lockdown.
It also predicted that it would take until 2022 to return to trading levels from 2019 at its hotels and pubs, which include The Cricketers in Ipswich, The Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds, The Willow Tree in Stowmarket, Grover & Allen in Sudbury, The Joseph Conrad in Lowestoft, The Bottle Kiln in Harwich, and The Playhouse in Colchester.
JD Wetherspoon added more than 99% of its 37,674 current employees are furloughed. The group has reduced its staff levels by more than 6,000 since last March, including a raft of redundancies at its head office and airport sites.
Tim Martin, chairman of Wetherspoon, said: "The Covid-19 outbreak is having a severe impact on the UK pub sector.
You may also want to watch:
"After a number of false starts, the hospitality industry generally anticipates a return to more normal trading patterns in the spring and summer, as a result of the introduction of a mass vaccination programme."
However, the group saw shares yesterday bounce to their strongest since March after it secured £94million by issuing 8.4m new shares.
Wetherspoon's hit the headlines just before Christmas when it defended its controversial posters questioning national lockdowns, which had been displayed at pubs including The Joseph Conrad.
- 1 Coleman on Cook: 'If that's indication of his fortune as Ipswich manager, they can book a place in the Championship'
- 2 Popular Woodbridge restaurant set to close
- 3 Stu says: Five observations following Ipswich Town's 2-1 win at Accrington Stanley
- 4 'I have no doubt Ipswich will be successful' - Richardson doesn't rule out joining Cook at Town
- 5 'Please don't believe everything you read in the media' - Ipswich Town owner Evans addresses takeover reports
- 6 Ipswich case rate rises, other Suffolk districts among lowest in England
- 7 Marcus Evans on Paul Cook: 'He has shown a great desire to become our next manager'
- 8 Man taken to hospital with serious leg injuries following collision
- 9 Anger over loss of habitats after pond drained and trees felled
- 10 'The time is not right to fiddle when Rome burns' - Evans outlines Lambert 'disagreements'
Ahead of its equity raise, the chain said it believes it has cash reserves to last it until the end of the current financial year without securing an additional government loan.
Shares in the company moved 61p higher to 1,244p at the close of play yesterday.