Third-quarter like-for-like sales at JD Wetherspoon rose a robust 3.8%, although margins weakened as a result of increased staff costs.
For the 13 week period to 24 April, total sales increased by 5.5% with year to date like-for-like sales up by 3.2% and total sales increasing by 5.9%.
However, the pub operator said the operating margin was 6.4%, compared with 7.5% in the same 13 weeks last year, reflecting the increases in the starting rates for hourly paid staff which came into force in August 2015, which totalled approximately 8%.
The company said it has opened 8 new pubs since the start of the financial year and has closed 19, of which 8 have been sold. It expects to open 16 new pubs in this financial year.
Chairman Tim Martin commented: “Sales during the quarter have continued at approximately the same levels reported on 11 March 2016 in our interim statement. We are still aiming for a reasonable outcome for the financial year, before the impact of the previously announced £3.8m property gain realised in the first 6 months.”