JD Wetherspoon's first-half profits fell by nearly fifth despite an uptick in sales as margins were dented by rising labour costs. For the 6-months to 27 January, profit before tax and exceptional items fell 18.9% to £50.3m from a year ago. Revenue increased 7.1% to £889.6m and like-for-like sales rose 6.3%. In the six weeks to 10 March 2019, the company reported even rosier like-for-like sales, which increased by 9.6%, helped by 'excellent weather this year and snow last year, and total sales increased by 10.9%.' The fall in profit was blamed on rising costs, most of which was attributed to higher wages, which added £33.0m to overall costs. Labour costs would creep higher in the second half of the year, compared to a year earlier, the company said. 'As previously indicated, costs in the second half of the year will be higher than those of the same period last year. The company anticipates an unchanged trading outcome for the current financial year.' Tim Martin, the Chairman of J D Wetherspoon, and a prominent Brexiteer hit back at the majority of 'the establishment,' for what he claims was a barrage of negative forecasts about the UK prospects if it were to leave the EU without a deal. 'The result has been a barrage of negative economic forecasts from those quarters, predicting that the UK will go to hell in a handcart without a 'deal' with the EU - which will effectively tie the country into EU membership and taxation, yet without representation.' 'The doomsters ignore the most powerful nexus in economics, between democracy and prosperity - and the fact that the EU is becoming progressively less democratic, as it pursues an 'ever-closer union', for which there is no public consensus.' 'Previous referendum results on major constitutional issues have always been respected in the UK, but if parliament votes either for Theresa May's 'deal' (which keeps us in the EU by the back door) or to remain in the EU, the referendum result will not have been respected. This may well have significantly adverse economic consequences, as the country turns in on itself to endure months, or years, of stifling constitutional argument.'
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