The pubco, which states it is ‘burdoned with considerable additional taxes’, is on track to open 40 pubs in the year to July 29, but expects this figure to slow to between 20 and 30 new sites in the following 12 months.
“The extra taxes on fruit/slot machines and the late-night levy are not applicable to supermarkets, so the tax disparity between supermarkets and pubs has been further increased," reads its financial statement, released today.
“We have created approximately 3,000 jobs in the same period, but all of the economic benefits of our expansion are currently being levied by the government as taxes - an unsustainable situation.”
In the financial update, the Group reported a 2 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to 22 April, with total sales also increasing, by 8.4 per cent.
Continuing cost pressures
Despite the positive results, Wetherspoon remains cautious about the future, adding: "As previously stated, the main challenges for the company, in this financial year of 53 trading weeks, will be the continuing cost pressures resulting from government legislation, including recent increases in excise duty, business rates and carbon tax.
"Many companies in the pub and catering industry, including Fuller’s, Robinsons, Shepherd Neame and Thwaites, for example, have joined the VAT Club, headed by Jacques Borel, and are urging the Government to reduce VAT for our industry, along with many other countries, in order to generate additional jobs and taxes for their economies."
“We continue to be slightly more cautious about the potential outcome for the current financial year."
The company currently has around 850 UK pubs within its portfolio.