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JD Wetherspoon to put up prices this year

JD Wetherspoon has reported record annual sales and profits, though it has warned that prices are set to increase over the coming year.

The chain reported revenue of £1.69 billion leading to a pre-tax profit of £107 million, according to The Independent. However, their costs are expected to increase in the near future, with higher taxes, labour costs and interest. This may mean the prices of their food and drink ‘may have to go up a bit’, the company’s owner Tim Martin told the BBC.

The chain—which is incredibly popular amongst students—now has around 900 no-frills pubs in the UK. The price increase is aimed at keeping their levels of income steady, not to try and significantly increase profit margins.

Martin told the BBC ‘I think what we’ll do is keep our prices as low as we reasonably can’. He added that the company ‘hope that is compensated by rising sales which will pay for the cost increases’.

Anti-EU stance

While Wetherspoons is popular amongst students, the political views of owner Tim Martin are at odds with current student paradigms. In June 2016, 85% of students who voted wanted to remain within the EU. Meanwhile, Martin has become an outspoken Brexiteer. He does, however, believe that 'considerable levels of immigration' are needed by the UK, just with greater border control than the EU offers.

He is an advocate of a no-deal Brexit, as he believes this would bring Britain more free trade.

In line with Martin's Brexit beliefs, the chain announced in June that it will stop selling champagne and prosecco, selling non-EU sparkling wines instead. They will also remove Jägermeister from their shelves on 26th September.

By operating outside of the EU’s trade tariffs, he hopes that this will allow the UK to develop a free trade approach used in nations such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.  JD Wetherspoon's increasing revenue and profits have been used by Martin to confirm his hard-Brexit beliefs, as their spell of financial success has emerged at around the same time as the company’s steps away from using EU produce.

With prices set to increase at the popular student haunt and the pub chain itself acting at odds with the political alignment of a significant number of students, it would seem that this is not good news for much of the student population.

Featured Image: Alexey Lobanov / Shutterstock.com

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