JD Wetherspoon slips to loss following Covid-19 restrictions

Greenall's Wild Berry pink gin is seen in

Greenall's Wild Berry pink gin is seen in

Explaining the difficulties the pub and restaurant chain has faced this year, JD Wetherspoon stated in its preliminary results that "mainly as a result of the lockdown, there have been substantial further "knock-on" effects on the sales and profits of our third-party suppliers and contractors, ranging from large global brewers to architects, builders and small suppliers, such as window cleaners".

From Saturday, households in London will not be allowed to mix indoors, including in pubs and restaurants.

Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin called the new system "Confusing".

Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, Mr Martin said: "There's massive confusion in the United Kingdom now because you've got the "rule of six", Tier 2, Tier 3 - everyone's confused".

Shares in pub group JD Wetherspoon (JDW) tanked 12% to 839p on Friday after the firm reported a pre-tax loss of £34 million for the year ended 26 July, while like-for-like sales in the first 11 weeks of the new financial year were 15% below the same period last year, impacted by curfew restrictions.

Revenue fell to £1.26 billion, down form £1.82 billion.

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"In marked contrast to the consistency of the comparatively successful Swedish approach, which emphasises social distancing, hygiene and trust in the people, the erratic United Kingdom government is jumping from pillar to post and is both tightening and tinkering with regulations, so we are now in quasi-lockdown which is producing visibly worse outcomes than those in Sweden, in respect of both health and the economy".

Last month it was announced that 66 Wetherspoon staff members working at 50 sites had recorded positive cases of Covid-19.

861 of Weatherspoons pubs have now reopened. "But what's happened under emergency powers, the government is making a lot of changes which we think in the industry are arbitrary [and] don't work, like the curfew and that's making life nearly impossible".

The hospitality industry is due to come under even more pressure as lockdown restrictions tighten.

The hospitality industry has been one of the worst hit sectors during the pandemic.

Wetherspoon said recently that up to 450 of its staff who work at pubs in airports were facing cuts as "sales are generally much lower and where a high percentage is closed".

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