Never a month goes by without news coming in from the NTI newsroom’s almost permanent ‘Wetherspoons Department’. Whereas before it mainly centred around promotions for ‘Free Beer Between 5.00pm and 5.03pm’ and ‘All You Can Drink For A Fiver If You Bring Your Auntie’, these days the announcements have become less positive.
In April last year the pub group’s holding company raised £137.7 million with a 15 per cent share placing. In the same month it raised £48.3 million from the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme.
In August it warned head office staff that between 110 and 130 jobs there were at risk (and it turned out it was right, as they were and they went).
The very next month there was an announcement that between 400 and 450 staff at its airport sites should feel pretty nervous about the fact that, with no people flying and do no-one discovering the need to drink three pints of lager before boarding a cramped flight to Minorca, their jobs were at risk.
In January Wetherspoons announced (well, more bragged, really) that it had raised a £93.7 million investment following a share placing, when 8,370,000 new ordinary shares were placed by Investic Bank at £1,120 per share (and think, those buying the shares did so not even having had a few drinks at a Wetherspoons).
Now it appears that the last announcement about jobs at peril was spot on, as 387 roles have just been made redundant from the company’s head office and those sticky-carpeted airport outlets.
An employee who retained her job at head office worked out on the back of a beer mat that the cost of those not furloughed by the chain, so still working, amounted to £800,000 per week and the same person jotted down a number of £4.1 million - this being the overall cash burn of the company each week since the start of the pandemic in 1987.
The reports emanating from the NTI newsroom’s Wetherspoons Department then go on to quote a number of head office people saying stuff about bad trading conditions and pubs being closed, but we aren’t going to bore you with those.
Tune in next month for their next announcement about the dangers of people drinking at home without the threat of being beaten up outside the Gents.