Welcome Break owner blames Brexit for ‘challenging’ trading

The owner of motorway service station chain Welcome Break has become the latest company to blame Brexit for a poor performance.

Applegreen, which also owns service and petrol stations in Ireland and 7-Eleven stores in the US, is set to spell out the issues to shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting in Dublin on Wednesday.

Chairman Daniel Kitchen is expected to tell investors: “We are pleased with the performance of the business in Ireland, where trading conditions remain good.

“In the UK, the performance of Welcome Break has been satisfactory despite more challenging trading conditions in 2019 as ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit has impacted on consumer sentiment.”

The company bought Welcome Break last year and said it plans to continue investing in new locations. Six new sites were added in Ireland and three in the UK.

Shareholders are also expected to be told by Mr Kitchen: “Trading for the overall group has been in line with expectations for the first five months of 2019.

“The legacy Applegreen business is performing strongly year on year, notwithstanding prior year comparators were negatively impacted by adverse weather events.”

Several companies have blamed Brexit for poor trading in recent months, particularly with the original date to leave the EU pushed back from the end of March.

The latest construction, manufacturing and retail data have all shown a decline since March.