British pub chain JD Wetherspoon said it would cut coffee and breakfast prices in a bid to triple sales over the next 18 months and help boost profits under pressure from much cheaper alcohol prices at supermarkets.

The company has grown to over 900 pubs on demand for its cheap food and drink deals.

It said profit before tax and exceptional items for the 26 weeks to 25 January slipped 0.9% to £37.5m pounds despite revenue up 9%.

As well as sales coming under pressure from supermarkets, the fall was due to higher utility costs and wages pushing down its operating margin from 8.2% a year ago to 7.4%.

Last year Wetherspoon entered the Irish market with plans to open 30 pubs in the years ahead.

The company is already trading in Dublin’s Blackrock and Dún Laoghaire; with more pubs due to open in Swords, Blanchardstown, Camden St and Cork city centre soon.

The pub group sells around 50 million coffees and 24 million breakfasts a year and said it would look to triple those sales by introducing more competitive prices from next week.

The firm added that in the face of greater supermarket competition it would also unveil several alcohol drink offers.

Wetherspoon has been a fierce critic of the impact of the much cheaper price of drinks at supermarkets.

The company said that while marketing and labour costs maybe higher than expected in the second half, it expected a "reasonable outcome" for the full-year.

Sales at pubs open over a year were up 1.6% in the six weeks to 8 March, having risen 4.5% in the first half of the year.