If you were picking a survivor from the apocalyptic conditions faced by pubs during the pandemic then Wetherspoons might well be it.
It has scale, some balance sheet heft and prominent sites as well as a cheap and cheerful offering with mass-market appeal.
However, the last few years really haven’t played out like that. Even as we emerged from Covid, its town and city centre locations have been a problem due to falling footfall as people work from home and a model focused on volume rather than profitability has left the company heavily exposed to rapidly rising costs.
AJ Bell’s Russ Mould said: “More recently though the shares have started to rally and today’s third-quarter update suggests the business might be kicking into gear as it enjoyed its busiest-ever Saturday during the May Day Bank Holiday weekend and a record Easter. Significantly, the positive momentum is tangible enough for the company to guide for profit at the top end of expectations for the year to 31 July.
“As usual chair Tim Martin uses his soapbox to call out politicians and give his views on how they could tackle inflation. Pressures on household budgets could be a positive tailwind for Wetherspoons as its cheap and cheerful prices appeal to more people.”