January 22, 2020 / 7:40 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Pub operator Wetherspoon posts strong holiday-quarter sales

(Adds background, details from statement)

Jan 22 (Reuters) - Pub operator J D Wetherspoon on Wednesday posted a 4.7% increase in its like-for-like sales for the second quarter, joining peer Mitchells & Butlers in reporting strong performance during the key holiday season.

While pub operators and restaurant chains have suffered due to steep costs on the back of higher wages and energy bills, Britons have ventured out to Wetherspoon’s outlets for drinks, especially its pink gin, helping cushion other headwinds.

Festive season has also provided some respite to the beaten-down sector, with Mitchells & Butlers also marking a solid update for the period encompassing Christmas and New Year holidays.

Wetherspoon, popularly known as Spoons, said like-for-like sales in the fiscal year to date climbed 5% and it expects a trading outcome in line with its previous forecast.

The company laid out a plan in December last year to create more than 10,000 jobs over the next four years as it looks to invest about 200 million pounds ($261.02 million) to launch more outlets in the UK and Ireland.

Wetherspoon said it intends to open another 10-15 outlets and expects to spend nearly 80 million pounds this year on new pubs and extensions.

($1 = 0.7662 pounds)

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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