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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 08:28 GMT
Polish beers boosting Wetherspoon
JD Wetherspoon pub
Food is a key part of Wetherspoon's strategy
JD Wetherspoon has said Polish lagers are serving up the fastest sales growth seen by bottled beers in its UK pubs.

Sales of the drinks - including Tyskie and Zywiec - helped the firm raise pre-tax profits by 20% to 32.9m in the six months to 28 January.

The 662-pub chain said that food, including drinks bought with a meal, now made up about 50% of sales.

It is selling about 450,000 coffees and 240,000 breakfasts each week, the company added.

Total sales in the period were up 8% to 438.4m.

But it warned that higher wages and utility costs, as well as tougher comparisons, meant like-for-like sales were set to slow from the 7.4% seen in the first half to between 2% and 4%.


Company spokesman Eddie Gerhson said that the company had started stocking Polish beers three years ago in pubs where small Polish communities were living.

"We got in first and it has grown from there," he said. "There are now hundreds of thousands of Polish people in the UK, which doesn't do the sales any harm at all.

"There are also a lot of people who like to try different beers, be they brewed in Poland, Lithuania or Jamaica."

Wetherspoon said another success had been a Swedish brand of cider, Kopparberg.

It said that it now sold more of the brand than anywhere else in the world - including in Sweden.

The chain also said its 61 smoke-free pubs outside Scotland - which had initially seen a "substantial decline" in sales and profits - were continuing to be "encouraging" in their performance.

A ban on smoking in public places in England comes into place this summer.

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