The pub group has several pubs in Ireland.
Turnover from both its UK and Ireland operations was down 30.6% to £1.26 billion in the financial year with Operating Profits of just £7.2 million, down 94.6% on the previous year’s £132 million.
Pre-tax losses ran to £34.1 million with Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin putting the blame for this firmly at the door of tighter Covid-19 restrictions that were brought in to combat its spread.
He believed that these “ill thought-out regulations” placing restrictions on pubs and bars were “extraordinarily difficult for the public and publicans to understand and to implement.
“None of the new regulations appears to have any obvious basis in science”.
However he continued, “The most damaging regulation relates to the 10pm curfew which has few supporters outside of the narrow cloisters of Downing Street and SAGE meetings. This has meant that many thousands of hospitality industry employees, striving to maintain hygiene and Social Distancing standards, go off duty at 10pm, leaving people to socialise in homes and at private events which are, in reality, impossible to regulate.”
Sales to date in Wetherspoon’s new financial year post-26th of July have proved “strong” but the introduction of the 10pm closing time had witnessed a “marked slowdown”.