UK pub operator Wetherspoon to cut 130 jobs at head office

FILE PHOTO: A Wetherspoon's logo is seen at a pub in central London, Britain January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

(Reuters) - J D Wetherspoon will slash up to 130 jobs at its head office, the British pub operator said on Thursday, due to the industry-wide hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company, whose cheaply priced pubs are a fixture of British towns and cities, said it would scale back its expansion plans and reduce the number of pubs it operates to 873, from 955 in 2015.

All head office employees will be affected by the process, with the exception of those working directly in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the company said in an email.

The move comes as the coronavirus outbreak has taken a toll on restaurants and restaurant chains across the world due to government restrictions on people’s movements, as well as consumer fears about large public gatherings.

The redundancies at the head office will not affect staff working in its 873 pubs, Wetherspoon said.

Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta