City centres are embracing resurgence in sales

By Paul Davey

- Last updated on GMT

The recently sold Crown in Lichfield, Staffordshire
The recently sold Crown in Lichfield, Staffordshire

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Despite the belief surburban towns are outgunning their big brothers, cities are embracing a positive change in property use, says Paul Davey, managing director at Davey Co

The seemingly long-held perception that regional city centres have been haemorrhaging licensed leisure trade to a strengthening
suburban town and larger village market belies the reality of what we have seen happening on the ground.

It is certainly true that the suburban centres, historically the key terrain held by the independent sector, has experienced a significant number of openings by larger corporate, branded, managed-house operators during the past few years.

This perceived drive of corporate operators chasing down the rise in attraction of a rapidly developing suburban market has been seen as a feature of our declining city-centre trading environments. However, the continued economic recovery has seen regional city centres resurgent as a result of continued structural investment and an effort to lighten city centre trading environments, thereby improving their vibrancy and ability to attract and retain trade.


City centre openings on the up

According to recent research released by CGA Peach, total numbers of licensed premises in town centres have fallen by 9% during the past 10 years, with suburban openings down a staggering 20%. Conversely, city centre openings have risen by a surprising 8% on the back of new venues opening their doors. It is also interesting to note within this data that drink-led venues fell by 15,000 during the 10 years analysed, while food-led sites grew by 6,000. Chameleon, or hybrid, style trading formats grew by an astonishing 80%, accounting for some 11% of total growth in that period.

Location within city centres, as well as the demography of the city centres themselves, without doubt plays a significant part in attracting switched-on operators. It is also true that there is certainly a perception of safety in numbers with many new openings occurring in the immediate vicinity of other good operators. The city centre licensed leisure circuits may not be the same today, but they are certainly vibrant and increasingly more attractive than they were a good few years ago.

Recent sales by Davey Co include Taps Bar, off Deansgate in Manchester; Epernay in Great George Street, Leeds; and the Crown in Lichfield, Staffordshire.

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