JD Wetherspoon is going against closures in the struggling pub business with a £ 145million investment in new locations and renovations that will create 2,000 jobs.
Wetherspoon’s has a portfolio of 75 projects, which includes 18 new pubs as well as 57 extensions and significant improvements to existing sites in its area of 871 premises.
The pub group isn’t the only one betting that the industry will rebound when Brits are allowed to resume their social life. The RedCat Pub Company, a private equity-backed company run by former Green King CEO Rooney Anand, confirmed on Tuesday that it had purchased 42 ads from Slug & Lettuce chain owner Stonegate.
Tim Martin, founder and outspoken chairman of Wetherspoon, said the investment would create jobs for “architects, contractors and builders and lead to the creation of 2,000 new jobs for our pub staff.”
However, Martin, a regular critic of UK government decision-making during the pandemic, added the caveat that spending was “conditional on the UK reopening on a long-term basis, with no further lockdowns or constant change of rules. “.
Wetherspoon’s is preparing to open nearly 400 outdoor gardens, rooftop gardens and patios in England next month, when restrictions are further relaxed. But Martin abolished the notion of vaccine passports for publicists, describing them as “fanciful and disproportionate” and “the last straw” for hundreds of struggling pubs.
Like other hospitality businesses, Wetherspoon’s has been hit hard by successive lockdowns. He made a loss of £ 68million after sales were halved to £ 431million in the six months leading up to January 24. Last year, the pandemic pushed the company to an annual loss of £ 105million – its first since the pub chain was founded in 1979.
Despite the turmoil, earlier this year Wetherspoon’s raised nearly £ 94million from investors, in part to be able to take advantage of falling prices to buy properties.
“It may be possible to achieve an above-average return on capital on acquired properties over the next several years, based on the company’s past experience,” the company said at the time.
The first installment of new pubs and expansions is planned for places like Leeds, Birmingham, Sheffield, Carmarthen and Glasgow.
Once the pipeline of 75 pub openings and expansions is completed, Wetherspoon’s promises to spend an additional £ 750 million to open 15 new pubs and expand another 50 each year for 10 years. The 10-year project would create 20,000 jobs, Martin said.