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Britain's Wetherspoon warns of profit impact from Omicron curbs

12/13/2021 | 07:59am EST
FILE PHOTO: A Wetherspoon's logo is seen at a pub in central London

(Reuters) -British pub group JD Wetherspoon Plc warned on Monday fresh government restrictions to contain the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant could lead to a half-yearly loss.

Britain imposed tougher COVID-19 restrictions last week, ordering people to work from home and wear masks in public places, dealing a further blow to a hospitality industry that is already navigating an uneven recovery from the pandemic.

While Wetherspoon has been seeing sales growth across pubs in many towns, places like central London - where remote work and a fall in tourist numbers have hurt patronage - have shown marked declines.

Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin has been an outspoken critic of the British government's handling of the health crisis. In a statement, the company said: "The uncertainty, and the introduction of radical changes of direction by the government, make predictions for sales and profits hazardous."

The company added its half-yearly results, for the 26-week period ending late January "may be loss-making or marginally profitable". It reported an annual loss of 194.6 million pounds ($258 million) in October.

Wetherspoon said its pubs, with a few exceptions, are "fully stocked and fully staffed", allaying concerns about staff and product shortages that have hit many British companies.

Shares were trading 4.2% lower at 830.5 pence as of 1210 GMT, their lowest level since November last year.

($1 = 0.7543 pounds)

(Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Krishna Chandra Eluri)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
J D WETHERSPOON PLC 0.40% 447.6 Delayed Quote.-53.42%
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