'Green shoots' of recovery for pubs

By Emily Sutherland

- Last updated on GMT

'Green shoots' of recovery for pubs

Related tags Licensed multiple retailers

The future of pubs outside the capital is increasingly bright according to analysts CGA Strategy, with the on-trade market in growth for the first time in five years.

Speaking at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ Spring Conference in London last week, CGA’s chief executive Phil Tate said: “The London market is strong but what starts in London goes round the UK. The on-trade is in growth and places like Manchester are a hotbed of innovation.”

Tate added that although the past decade had seen the closure of more than 21,000 drink-led venues, “green shoots” of recovery were now emerging across the UK. Manchester city  centre has seen a 17% increase in new pubs, bars and food-led venues, with Cardiff and Leeds close behind with a 14% and 13% increase respectively.

However, Tate also warned that the recovery has led to fierce competition in attracting customers, particularly among the “fickle and promiscuous” younger generation.

Tate said: “Publicans need to find ways to understand the ever-changing consumer. The on-trade is dealing with the most fickle and promiscuous customer it has ever seen.

“The pubs that are winning at the moment are the ones that understand their consumer and are trying to drive experience within their venue.

“With Generation Y we are seeing that experience drives engagement, which then drives loyalty and spend. More thought than ever is required in appealing to a younger consumer as your range needs to be right, while ensuring you don’t have product lines with no return that damage margins.”

Generation Y refers to people born in the 1980s and the 1990s, of which 60% eat out weekly, the highest percentage of all age groups.

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