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Further Upside In Post-Lockdown Britain: J. D. Wetherspoon

Jun. 09, 2020 11:22 AM ETJ D Wetherspoon plc (JDWPF), JDWPY2 Comments
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Retirement Pot


  • Wetherspoon is a best-in-class pub chain with strong financial history.
  • Its pubs have all been closed in lockdown but its shares have still doubled from their lows on anticipation of recovery.
  • Once U.K. pubs reopen next month and are very busy I expect a positive rerating.
  • Over 30% upside in next 12 months.


The pub is well known as core to British social life, but a lot of British people are currently suffering at home without the option to go to the pub, a key social location. In coming weeks, as lockdown restrictions ease, this will change.


Many people in the British Isles want to drink, they want to drink cheaply and there will be less competition in the U.K. market after lockdown ends than there was before it began. One big winner from this will be pub chain J. D. Wetherspoon (OTCPK:JDWPY) (OTCPK:JDWPF). Its shares are already trading at a fairly high multiple, but I believe there is significant upside in the one-year time frame anyway as once pubs reopen the shares will receive a momentum boost and rerating.

Wetherspoons Pub | Pubs In Victoria Cross Concourse - J D Wetherspoon

Image: company website

J. D. Wetherspoon: A Well-Run Popular

Wetherspoon is a chain of 859 pubs at last count (2019 annual report) spread across the U.K. and Irish republic. These pubs in fact serve meals and hot and soft drinks so function as cafés during the day, traditionally a time when pubs were underutilized.

The best way to understand why Wetherspoon's is a great business is to go into any of their branches, at any time. Invariably they are busy. The client mix is unusual for a pub: pensioners rub alongside young, rowdier groups. The prices are cheap but the products on offer are still good quality. This, in my opinion, has been the reason for Wetherspoon's success. It might not be the dream pub, but it offers a consistent, decent product at a highly competitive estate. As the number of pubs in the U.K. has fallen, the large Wetherspoon outlets often also benefit from their locations.

However, being a great business does not always make for a great shareholding. Wetherspoon's successful formula

This article was written by

Retirement Pot profile picture
I am a private investor based in the United Kingdom and most interested in equities in the U.K., U.S., Canada and Norway.

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Comments (2)

Noah Riley profile picture
Good concise article - thanks. Really do like the appeal of Wetherspoons. The simple nature of cheaper beer truly has filled a gap in the market. The attractiveness of Wetherspoons for consumers is huge, particularly for young people like me, its the go to first choice.
Retirement Pot profile picture
Thanks Noah for the kind comment.
I agree that what Spoons does well is manage to attract groups which are usually mutually exclusive in pubs e.g. young groups, solo pensioners and families. Presumably like you, I'm looking forward to sinking some pints in one again soon.
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