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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 July, 2004, 08:10 GMT 09:10 UK
Euro 2004 hits Wetherspoon sales
England football fans in a pub
Euro 2004 left Wetherspoon with little to cheer about
UK pubs group JD Wetherspoon has issued a profit warning after it was hit by poor sales during Euro 2004.

The firm said like-for-like sales for the 11 weeks to 11 July were flat, blaming tough competition from supermarkets and the Euro 2004 effect.

Wetherspoon lost out to competitors during the football tournament as few of its outlets have televisions.

As a result of the poor sales it warned full-year profits would be "slightly below the current range" of forecasts.

No Euro 2004 boost

Wetherspoon only had televisions in a "minority of pubs" during Euro 2004 following its previous policy of having no music or television to distract drinkers.

The venues that did have TVs available for punters to enjoy the competition in Portugal did well during England's matches.

However, Wetherspoon said that even in these pubs like-for-like sales were negative over the tournament as a whole.

Wetherspoon also claimed that a switch to lower strength drinks - in a bid to comply with advice from the Portman Group and other bodies promoting responsible drinking - had seen sales in some categories such as spirits and cocktails weaken.

It also warned that increasing taxes, red tape and rising costs - including a 40% rise in gas and electricity charges - would hit profits.

But it remained upbeat about the future saying that "in spite of the current demanding trading environment, the company is confident of its future prospects".

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