Shares in pub chain JD Wetherspoon dropped by 6.3% to £8.37 on Wednesday, after the company posted slowing sales figures in the wake of Brexit.
For the third quarter of the year, like-for-like sales actually increased by 5.3%, but the worrying news for investors was a 2.3% reduction in like-for-like sales in the last five weeks of the period, as consumers begin to feel the pinch of rising prices on the high street.
Tim Martin, the Wetherspoon chairman and founder, campaigned vocally for Brexit, and his firm paid for 200,000 pro-Leave beer mats to be circulated in its 920 pubs across the UK.
He admitted that the company expects to face “higher costs” for the rest of the year, but did not explicitly say that the increase was the result of the post-Brexit collapse in the pound’s value.
Instead he turned his sights instead on the “bullying approach” of EU officials including its president, Jean-Claude Juncker. He said in a statement:
“Wetherspoon normally agrees on trade deals with suppliers for three to 10 years. If we, and companies like ours, are unable to agree on tariff-free transactions, it will inevitably result in a loss of business for European companies which have done nothing to deserve this outcome.
“Indeed, the ultimate sanction will be in the hands of UK consumers, should they take offence at the hectoring and bullying approach of Juncker and co. French wine, Champagne and spirits, German beer and Swedish cider, for example, are all at extreme risk.”
Here is what Wetherspoon shares looked like at 12.36 pm G.M.T.:
Martin added: “The company has made a reasonable start in the current year, but any forecasts for the full year are inevitably tentative, with nine months still to go — and the outlook for the current financial year is unchanged.”