Wetherspoons to hike food prices as lockdown measures come to an end

Wetherspoons food prices will increase later this year when VAT reductions end.

When hospitality businesses were given a lower rate of 5% to alleviate the financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic, Spoons allowed its customers to benefit from the discount too.

But sadly, this reduction will be coming to an end in October.

VAT is set to go up to 12.5% in the autumn, before returning to 20% in April 2022.

According to the Mirror, Wetherspoon has confirmed meals will be more expensive as a result.

In a trading update today, bosses said this will be equivalent to around 40p per meal.

Wetherspoon confirmed its sales have continued to fall despite lockdown measures being lifted.

Like-for-like bar and food sales plunged 49% between April 12 and May 16, when outdoor dining was allowed and 500 of its 860 pubs were open.

The pub chain said sales were also still down 14.6% between May 17 and July 4, the start date of which was when pubs could reopen for indoor dining.

Despite this, a whopping 850 sites have reopened and two new boozers started welcoming customers in the last six months.

The pub giant also plans to open 18 new venues in the near future.

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The company said: “The Chancellor reduced VAT on food for the hospitality industry to 5% last year, still above the rate paid by supermarkets, which was nonetheless welcome.

"However, it is now proposed that VAT returns to 20%, in stages, in the next year.

“The interim rise to VAT of 12.5% will result in Wetherspoon having to increase food prices by around 40 pence per meal.”

Tim Martin, chairman and founder of Wetherspoon, said: "The company continues to expect to make a loss for the year ending July 25.

"In a trading update of January 19, the company's principal 'scenario' estimated sales in the financial year starting July 26 to be in line with financial year 2019.

"[This] remains our current best estimate, on the basis that restrictions are ended, as the Government currently intends."

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