JD Wetherspoon cuts back Irish business

UK-based pub giant JD Wetherspoon is selling off its sites in the Republic of Ireland outside of Dublin for €10 million.

Having arrived in the Republic of Ireland in 2014 with the opening of two pubs, in the Dublin suburbs of Blackrock and Dún Laoghaire, JD Wetherspoon continued its expansion the following year by opening a further three pubs in the country. In 2019, Irish publication Business Post reported that the chain’s founder Tim Martin expressed interest in opening 30 pubs across the Republic of Ireland.

However, now the JD Wetherspoon sites in Cork, Waterford, Carlow and Galway are up for sale for a guiding price of €10m. Three of the properties are currently trading (The Linen Weaver in Cork, An Geata Arundel in Waterford, and The Tullow Gate in Carlow), while the fourth, in Galway, is not currently operating but is licensed to serve alcohol.

Precisely why JD Wetherspoon has taken the decision to scale back its business in the Republic of Ireland is not currently clear. The company’s results released at the start of this year recorded a like-for-like sales increase of 13% across its 800+ sites in the UK and Ireland, but cited “an exceptionally challenging trading backdrop”.

Stephen McCarthy of Savills, one of the joint selling agents, said of the sale: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire an exceptional collection of landmark licensed properties in some of the most coveted locations in the country. We expect this sale to appeal to a broad cross-section of hospitality groups seeking to scale their existing operation and benefit from the extensive investment which has already being committed to these assets.”

John Hughes of CBRE, the other joint selling agent, added the Cork, Waterford and Carlow properties are in “excellent condition” and that the Galway site “offers scope to develop a landmark licensed premises or alternative uses”.

JD Wetherspoon has not expressed intention to sell off any of its five sites in/around the Irish capital.

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This article was originally published by the drinks business and has been shared with permission.

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