Tim Martin has confirmed an imaginative plan to bring experience and knowledge to its board but can’t escape record pre-tax loss of £154.7 million.
Tim Martin, founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon has announced plans to put workers on its board as a method of addressing the negative impact of corporate governance rules which set the maximum tenure at nine years. Martin explained: “The pattern of a low level of executive representation and non-executives who stay, on average for short tenures is bound to have a deleterious effect on the DNA.”
To combat a rule that would see himself and two non-execs forced to step down, the company has drawn-up a short list of four potential worker directors working as pub or area managers and who boast an average of twenty-six years service with the company.
The imaginative initiative coincided with confirmation of a record annual pre-tax loss of £154.7 million for the year to the end of July, up from the £34 million loss posted in 2020. Citing the 19-week closure of pubs during lockdown, Martin said: “Wetherspoon is cautiously optimistic about the outcome for the financial year, on the basis that there is no further resort to lockdowns or onerous restrictions.”
Average weekly sales at Wetherspoon’s 872 pubs fell from £46,500 in 2020 to £34,100 in 2021. Turning his attention to the thorny subject of VAT he stated: “Supermarkets pay virtually no VAT in respect of food sales, whereas pubs pay 20 per cent. This has enabled supermarkets to subsidise the price of alcoholic drinks, widening the price gap, to the detriment of pubs and restaurants.”