- Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin uses company trading update to criticise anti-Brexit institutions.
- Martin attacked the “highly inaccurate” economic forecasts of international institutions like the OECD and IMF.
- “Their erroneous views lend weight to Warren Buffett’s aphorism that most forecasts tell you a lot about the forecaster, but nothing about the future,” he said.
- Wetherspoon saw like-for-like sales increase by 6% in the 12 weeks to January 21.
LONDON – Tim Martin, chairman of pub chain JD Wetherspoon has attacked the “highly inaccurate” economic forecasts of international institutions like the OECD and IMF, quoting investing legend Warren Buffett in the process.
Writing in the latest trading update for Wetherspoons, Martin took aim at these organisations, as well as the likes of the CBI and BRC, accusing them of “trying to fool the public and MPs and bringing business into disrepute.”
“Their erroneous views lend weight to Warren Buffett’s aphorism that most forecasts tell you a lot about the forecaster, but nothing about the future,” he said.
Organisational efforts against Brexit, Martin claims, are spearheaded by publishing inaccurate surveys designed to make it look like Brexit will be bad for UK businesses. One survey about the rising price of food after Brexit came in for particular ire from Martin.
“By refusing to acknowledge the fact that food prices will be reduced, post Brexit, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and parliament votes to eliminate taxes which are currently imposed on non-EU food imports, the CBI and the BRC are trying to fool the public and MPs and bringing business into disrepute,” he said in an astonishing letter to investors.
Martin provides no evidence that the organisations named have deliberately published inaccurate information.
Martin’s statements come the day after Wetherspoons pulled beef and gammon steaks from its 900 pubs in the UK over a quality issue, according to The Sun newspaper.
His comments, however, are by no means his first attack on public figures and groups he sees as being anti-Brexit. Back in November, Martin used a shareholder letter to criticise media outlets and business groups for spreading “misinformation” about Brexit.
He added that business leaders are making “factually incorrect and highly misleading” statements about leaving the European Union.
Away from Martin’s comments on Brexit, JD Wetherspoon reported on Wednesday that it saw like-for-like sales increase by 6% in the 12 weeks to January 21, and expects profits to come in ahead of forecasts when they are announced later in the year.
Investors appeared to be happy with Wetherspoon’s results, with the company’s share price rising by close to 5% around an hour into Wednesday morning trading, as the chart below shows:
“Investors are happy to ignore the small print, cheering a solid set of results in comparison to peers and seemingly confident that the chain can capitalise on consumer sentiment during the holy grail that is a World Cup year,” Henry Croft, an analyst at Accendo Markets said in an email.
“Furthermore, the low cost, no frills pub chain continues to benefit from a perceived change in UK consumer spending, as drinkers move away from higher-cost, higher-end watering holes in order to enjoy creature comforts at much lower expense.”
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