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Local boozer under threat as thousands of pubs close despite scorching summer

The rate at which pubs and other licensed premises are closing has doubled over the last three months with the future of the traditional “local” increasingly under threat.
Britain has 3,116 fewer pubs, bars and restaurants compared with 12 months ago - something industry leaders labelled “deeply concerning”.
An analysis of almost 120,000 sites by consultancy duo CGA and AlixPartners  revealed a 2.5pc fall in the number of pubs in the year to June 2018. The year-on-year decline three months ago was 1.3pc.
The number of Welsh pubs fell by 3.4pc, while in London there was a 2.3pc decline. Local community pubs accounted for the majority of the closures, the report’s authors found.
The closures came despite the UK recording its joint-hottest summer on record and England enjoying an unusually long run in the football World Cup, both of which boosted pub sales.
England’s footballing escapades provided more of a boost after June, however.  Research released last month by Coffer Peach found drink sales during July were 6.6pc higher.
Local boozer under threat as thousands of pubs close despite scorching summer

England's run in the football World Cup has helped pub sales

Credit:
MARKUS SCHREIBER/AP
“The number of pubs in the UK is still falling, with pubs facing increasing and considerable tax pressures from a range of sources; particularly high beer duty, unfair business rates and VAT,” said British Beer and Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds. “This is deeply concerning because pubs are a great British institution and are often the social hub of their community.”
Restaurant numbers, which have swelled 11pc in just five years, fell 1pc, the CGA and AlixPartners analysis found.
Licensed eateries were under siege from rising costs and the “fickle nature of many consumers”, CGA vice president Peter Martin said.
Graeme Smith, a managing director at AlixPartners, said: “When it comes to pubs, operators with a well-executed food offer remain attractive, and those who add accommodation to the mix are under the spotlight of investors looking to businesses with more diversified revenue streams and broader trading windows.”
Listed pub companies
However, Berenberg analyst Owen Shirley pointed out that thousands of pub closures did not necessarily mean supply was shrinking.
“Closures are typically focused around smaller sites or those which are under-invested and performing poorly, while new openings, which continue to take place in the restaurant sector in particular, are usually more popular, at least initially, as the ‘new thing’ in town, and generate more revenue than the closure they may have replaced.
“So just because site numbers are falling, it doesn’t necessarily mean market supply as a whole is declining."
Last week pub giant Greene King impressed investors by posting a 2.8pc increase in like-for-like sales. The brewer and pub chain said it sold 3.7m pints during England’s seven matches in Russia.
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