Company Announcements

News Release - Correction

Source: RNS
RNS Number : 5738Q
Wetherspoon (JD) PLC
26 February 2021
 

26 February 2021

 

J D WETHERSPOON PLC

NEWS RELEASE - CORRECTION

 

 

An article in Businessweek (26 February), regarding Wetherspoon, contains a number of inaccuracies:

 

 

-the article says that Wetherspoon plays "host to drunken students". This is a serious allegation to make about a pub company. "Playing host" in this way would be unlawful, since pubs have a legal obligation, enforced by the licensing authorities, to prevent drunkenness. Pub liquor licences can be lost if legislation is not adhered to. Wetherspoon has never, in its history, lost a licence on these grounds.

 

-the article says Wetherspoon is "sacrificing worker pay for affordable prices". However, average Wetherspoon pay, excluding management grades, is 12% over the minimum wage. In addition, Wetherspoon paid bonuses and free shares (see table below) to employees equivalent to 55% of its profits after tax in the last 15 years. 15,032 employees own shares in the company. Since the share scheme was introduced, Wetherspoon has awarded 20.6 million free shares to employees, approximately 16% of the shares in issue today.

 

-the article says that Wetherspoon "took advantage of a beer supply surplus to secure cheap contracts". This is untrue. The company has never been made aware of a "beer surplus" and believes that "taking advantage" would be impossible, since beer is produced in short cycles, in line with current demand.

 

-the article says that Wetherspoon "unlike traditional pubs ... divides its pubs into gridlike seating plans.....reducing the frequency of chance interactions". This claim is completely untrue. There is no observable difference between Wetherspoon seating layouts and those of many competitors. The reference to reducing interactions is entirely fictional.

 

-the article says that Wetherspoon "leverag(ed) it's scale to beat out smaller competitors". This is misleading. There are far more competitors now in the hospitality industry than there were in the past- coffee shops, restaurants and cafes, which sell many of the same products as Wetherspoon, have grown exponentially. Many smaller pub competitors, trading in close proximity to Wetherspoon, like Loungers, Fuller's, Young's and St Austell have grown substantially.

 

-the article refers to Wetherspoon as the "Most-Hated" pub company. This is untrue. An independent market research survey (see link: http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5738Q_1-2021-2-26.pdf) by CGA BrandTrack of 5,000 consumers in 2018, for example, reported that Wetherspoon is "the preferred brand to eat out at".  A similar survey in 2019 (see link: http://www.rns-pdf.londonstockexchange.com/rns/5738Q_1-2021-2-26.pdf), also by CGA BrandTrack, found that Wetherspoon was the "standout choice for branded drinking occasions".

 

-the article says that Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin is "a lifetime skeptic of the EU" and that "he began in the 1990s to push for Britain to prune its ties with Brussels". This is untrue. As Mr Martin has said, on a number of occasions, his first opposition to the EU was when it was proposed that the UK join the euro in around 2000, following the failure of the euro's predecessor, the exchange rate mechanism in the early 1990s.

Tim Martin said -

"There are a number of other errors in the Businessweek article, but these are the main ones. It is important for the corrections to be in the public domain".

   

Wetherspoon: bonuses and free shares vs profits, 2006 - 2020

 

 

Bonus and free shares

Profit
after tax

Bonus etc as % of profits

Financial Year

£m

£m

2020

33

-30

-

2019

46

80

58%

2018

43

84

51%

2017

44

77

57%

2016

33

57

58%

2015

31

57

53%

2014

29

59

50%

2013

29

65

44%

2012

24

57

42%

2011

23

52

43%

2010

23

51

44%

2009

21

45

45%

2008

16

36

45%

2007

19

47

41%

2006

17

40

41%

Total

428

777

55%

 

*Source: J D Wetherspoon plc Annual Reports and Accounts 2006 - 2020

 

 

Ends.

 

Enquiries:

 

John Hutson                          Chief Executive Officer                       01923 477777

Ben Whitley                          Finance Director                                  01923 477777

Eddie Gershon                      Company spokesman                         07956 392234

 

Please email any questions to investorqueries@jdwetherspoon.co.uk 

 

Notes to editors

 

1. J D Wetherspoon owns and operates pubs throughout the UK and Ireland. The Company aims to provide customers with good-quality food and drink, served by well-trained and friendly staff, at reasonable prices. The pubs are individually designed, and the Company aims to maintain them in excellent condition.

 

2. Visit our website: www.jdwetherspoon.com

 

3. This announcement has been prepared solely to provide additional information to the shareholders of J D Wetherspoon, to meet the requirements of the FCA's Disclosure and Transparency Rules. It should not be relied on by any other party, for any other purposes. Forward-looking statements have been made by the directors in good faith, using information available up until the date on which they approved this statement. Forward-looking statements should be regarded with caution, because of the inherent uncertainties in economic trends and business risks.

 

4. This announcement contains inside information on J D Wetherspoon plc.

 

5. The current financial year comprises 52 trading weeks to 25 July 2021.

 

6. The next trading update is expected to be the Company's interim results statement on 19 March 2021.

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