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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 07:08 GMT 08:08 UK
Wetherspoon enjoys caffeine hit
JD Wetherspoon pub
About 14% of Wetherspoon pubs are smoke-free
Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has said it is now selling as much coffee as Caffe Nero as it pushes non-alcoholic drink sales in its outlets.

The firm said it had now cornered 6% of the UK's "chain" coffee market, which features the likes of Starbucks.

The move helped Wetherspoon lift annual pre-tax profits by 24% to 58.4m ($111m) in the year to 31 July.

It said it was confident of adapting well to next year's smoking ban - with 92 of its premises already smoke-free.

Overall sales were up 5% to 847.5m.

Alongside pushing coffee sales, it has also been taking advantage of the High Street location of many of its 657 pubs by opening early and now serves about 200,000 breakfasts a week.

Smoke ban

In the first half of its financial year, Wetherspoon's converted 17 of its pubs into non-smoking venues ahead of the forthcoming change in the law. In the second half of the year, sales in those venues fell 6.5%.

Wetherspoon's chairman Tim Martin said that the short-term effect of a change to non-smoking was "typically", a drop in sales and profits.

But he added: "Wetherspoon has strongly supported the principle of pubs becoming non-smoking, and is confident about the company's medium and long-term prospects in this environment."

The smoking ban in pubs will apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from mid-2007 - more than a year after it was introduced in Scotland.


SEE ALSO
JD Wetherspoon delays smoking ban
03 Mar 06 |  Business
Wetherspoon squeezed by offer ban
02 Sep 05 |  Business
Non-smoking pubs hit Wetherspoon
29 Apr 05 |  Business

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