Nov 11, 2020

Struggling landlords need a champion, not Wetherspoons chairman

A trading update from JD Wetherspoon gives its chairman an opportunity to rail against the "Baffling and confusing" lockdown regime that has closed most of his pubs. The likes of Wetherspoons all have liquidity to make it through a year or more of national lockdown while at least a fifth of the independents are likely to go to the wall, according to Peel Hunt analysis. Wesfarmers famously accused the British weather of causing a sales slump at the group, which it bought for £340m in 2016 and sold for £1 two years later to turnround specialist Hilco. In September, Kingfisher - Homebase's bigger and more international rival and owner of B&Q and Screwfix - reported a 23 per cent increase in first-half profitability. Debt plus equity of Kingfisher - which earned revenues of more than £11bn and made a prettified pre-tax profit of £544m in the year to January - trade at about half its sales.

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