JD Wetherspoon has been forced to put 32 pubs across England on the market.
The group, which operates around 800 pubs in the UK and Ireland, said it was a “commercial decision”.
CBRE and Savills have been appointed to market the pubs, which are in town and city centre locations. More than half are located in London and the south-east.
Wetherspoon warned earlier this year that it could plunge to a loss of around £30 million after raising staff wages and investing in repairs.
The group said the recovery for many pub firms had been “slower and more laborious” than expected, while the sector is also grappling with soaring costs and a pull-back in consumer spending due to rising inflation.
Wetherspoon’s latest trading update showed that like-for-like sales in the first 11 weeks of its fourth quarter to July 31 were 0.4 per cent below the same pre-pandemic period in 2019 – an improvement on the previous quarter, when they fell 4 per cent.
Sales of draught ales, lagers and ciders – previously the biggest driver of pub trade – were 8 per cent below 2019 levels, it revealed.
Staff costs were also far higher than before the pandemic, with firms across the sector having to increase wages to overcome recruitment difficulties.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “On occasion Wetherspoon does put some of its pubs up for sale.
“This is a commercial decision. We understand that customers and staff will be disappointed with it. The pubs will continue to operate as Wetherspoon outlets until they are sold.”
Toby Hall, senior director at CBRE, said: “The excellent mix of locations in this portfolio is rarely seen in the market. With more than half of the portfolio located in London and the south-east and other strong locations in the south-west, Midlands and [north of England] we believe the pubs represent an excellent opportunity for existing pub operators and new entrants”.
Wetherspoons pubs up for sale:
Barnsley – Silkstone Inn
Beaconsfield – Hope & Champion
Bexleyheath – Wrong ‘Un
Bournemouth – Christopher Creeke
Cheltenham – Bank House
Durham – Water House
Halifax – Percy Shaw
Hanham – Jolly Sailor
Harrow – Moon on the Hill
Hove – Cliftonville Inn
London Battersea – Asparagus
London East Ham – Miller’s Well
London Eltham – Bankers Draft
London Forest Gate – Hudson Bay
London Forest Hill – Capitol
London Hornsey – Toll Gate
London Holborn – Penderel’s Oak
London Islington – Angel
London Palmers Green – Alfred Herring
Loughborough – Moon & Bell
Loughton – Last Post
Mansfield – Widow Frost
Middlesborough – Resolution
Purley – Foxley Hatch
Redditch – Rising Sun
Sevenoaks – Sennockian
Southampton – Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis
Stafford – Butler’s Bell
Watford – Colombia Press
West Bromwich – Billiard Hall
Willenhall – Malthouse
Wirral – John Masefield