Wetherspoons to open 250 pubs
"Our pubs are extremely popular and we wish to build on their success by opening more," said Tim Martin, Wetherspoon's chairman and founder. "Recessions can be a good time to expand because property prices fall."
Wetherspoon operates 743 pubs in Britain and will open new ones in Sheffield, Livingston, Leominster, Otley, New Malden, Liverpool, Haverfordwest and Newcastle.
The group is among a handful of beer companies to have improved its financial performance despite bad trading conditions this year. Earnings and underlying profits rose in the year to the end of July. Wetherspoon said it was the only large pub chain that opens all its pubs early in the morning, selling mroe than 715,000 breakfasts and coffee each week. The group holds regular beer festivals and most of its pubs have a good range of cask beers, often in towns where other pubs only offer keg beer and lager.
Greene King is another success story. It has announced that it is considering buying more pubs after a slight rise in first-half profits to £62.4 million, boosted by a growing appetite for pub food.
"People thought the food market would be hit but what we are seeing is that people are trading down to pubs to eat out," chief executive Rooney Anand said.