Diamond sparkles for Wetherspoon

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Pub chain JD Wetherspoon revealed significantly improved sales figures yesterday after benefiting from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and Euro 2012.

The group, whose 850 pubs are mainly in town centres, said the special events had a positive impact on footfall as like-for-like sales rose 6.1 per cent in the 11 weeks to July 8, compared to a 2 per cent rise in the previous quarter.

Wetherspoon expects a “reasonable outcome” for the financial year ending this month but said the main challenges facing the group were continuing cost pressures resulting from government legislation.

It has already warned it will slow the pace of new pub openings in the next year to between 20 and 30 sites as it grapples with a £50m increase in its annual tax bill, including rises in excise duty.

The chain’s chairman Tim Martin said he was hopeful that people may be starting to return to pubs following the smoking ban.