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Cautious approach from pub giant JD

PUBS chain JD Wetherspoon has said its like-for-like sales rose 6.2% in the 13 weeks to April 27, following good trading in February and March.

But a weaker performance in April, underpinned by less trade at Easter, and the unpredictable impact of this summer's football World Cup in Brazil mean it is cautious about the final quarter of its financial year.

It also highlighted tough comparable figures from the fourth quarter in the previous year.

The company, which runs more than 60 pubs in Scotland, said that for the trading year to date, covering the 39 weeks to April 27 like-for-like sales were running 5.6% ahead with total sales 9.7% up.

Operating margins had really fallen back slightly in the third quarter, showing 8% against 8.2% in the first six months of the financial year,

Wetherspoon's said it was hopeful of a "reasonable" annual result.

So far 28 new pubs have been opened in the financial year with three offloaded.

Wetherspoon's said it has 17 sites under development and was sticking to its target of opening 45 pubs across its current year.

It also remains confident of opening between 30 and 40 in the next financial year.

While the company welcomed the recent excise reduction in beer it expects taxes and input costs to continue to rise.

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