LEISURE: Pub chain JD Wetherspoon saw an 8 per cent rise in festive sales but warned rising energy bills and wage costs would dent profit margins.
The group, which has about 860 pubs and almost 30,000 staff, said half-year margins were expected to be about 1.1 per cent lower than its previous financial year in the face of higher costs and taxes.
Wetherspoon said its corporation tax bill was expected to hit 27.5 per cent this year. The group said sales and profits were "resilient, in spite of the continuing taxation and regulation burden on the pub industry and the ongoing pressure on consumer's disposable incomes".
Despite the increased profits, fears over low margins saw shares in the group drop by 2 per cent yesterday.
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