Source - SMW
Pub group JD Wetherspoon expects underlying pre-tax profits to be slightly ahead of forecasts following   better-than-anticipated sales.

Like-for-like sales for the first 12 weeks of the second quarter (to 21 Jan), increased by 6.0% and total sales were up by 4.3%. 

In the year to date (25 weeks to 21 Jan), like-for-like sales increased by 6.0% and total sales by 4.3%.

Chairman Tim Martin said: 'Sales in the second quarter to date matched the strong growth of the first quarter. 

'In the second half of the year, sales comparatives will be more difficult.

'We face significant costs in the second half in areas which include labour, business rates and the sugar tax. There will also be some uncertainty as to the effects on our business of the FIFA World Cup.

'Nevertheless, given better-than-expected year-to-date sales, we currently anticipate a slightly improved trading outcome for this financial year.'

Martin also used his statement to reiterate his criticism of the Confederation of British Industry, the British Retail Consortium and the chairmen of Whitbread and Sainsbury's over their claims that food prices could go up after Brexit.

He said: 'By refusing to acknowledge the fact that food prices will be reduced, post Brexit, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and parliament votes to eliminate taxes which are currently imposed on non-EU food imports, the CBI and the BRC are trying to fool the public and MPs and bringing business into disrepute.

'These factually incorrect scare stories seem to be designed to convince the public that a deal is necessary to avoid a "cliff edge". In fact, the cliff edge is a myth.

'There is almost no action needed, for most companies, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. 

'Provided that parliament takes sensible steps, such as the elimination of food taxes, the public will benefit from lower food prices, from regained fishing rights and from savings of about £200m per week of EU contributions.'     

At 9:05am: (LON:JDW) Wetherspoon J D PLC share price was +47.5p at 1317.5p