Record Sales, Profit And Earnings At J D Wetherspoon plc

J D Wetherspoon (LSE: JDW) has edged up 1.4%, following publication of its preliminary results for the year to 27 July 2014.

Operating profit increased 3.8%, to £115.6m, and profit before tax and exceptional items rose 3.1%, to £79.4m, on revenue that grew 10%, at £1,409m, with like-for-like sales up 5.5%.  If £17.7m of exceptional items (relating almost entirely to a charge on a deferred tax liability) are stripped out, operating profit was up 26.3% and pre-tax profit was up 37.1%.

Eabeerrnings per share (before exceptional items) were up 4.9%, at 47p and the board is recommending a full-year dividend of 12p, the same as in the previous year.  Since Wetherspoon’s flotation in 1992, earnings per share (before exceptional items) have grown by an average of 15.8% per annum.

The company reported that it had opened 46 pubs over the course of the year, with 5 premises closed or sold, making its total estate at the end of its financial year 927 pubs.  It also said that it intends to open between 30 and 40 more pubs by the end of the current financial year. 

Wetherspoon says that the “biggest danger” currently faced by its industry is the disparity in VAT between supermarkets and pubs, and that it will be supporting Tax Equality Day on Wednesday 24 September by reducing prices by 7.4% for one day, in order to raise awareness of the issue.

Commenting on the results, chairman Tim Martin said:

I am pleased to report another year of progress, with record sales, profit and earnings per share. The company generated £600.2 million in taxes, an increase of £48.7 million, compared with the previous year, equivalent to £662,000 per pub. We now employ over 34,000 people, an increase of over 3,000 in the last year. In addition, £29.2 million in bonuses and free shares was paid to employees, 82% to those working in our pubs.

“The company is aiming for a reasonable outcome in the current financial year.

Wetherspoon’s share price is currently up 4.5% on this time last year, beating the FTSE 100’s 3.3% rise in that period.  And the story is the same over five years, with Wetherspoon up 50% compared with 36% for the FTSE 100 index.

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Jon Wallis has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.