Punch Taverns

Punch sell-off: closure fears eased

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Punch Taverns pubs will be sold, not closed

Related tags Punch pubs Eating

Punch Taverns has confirmed plans to sell 400 pubs in the next few years as part of a long-standing business plan, but has allayed fears of closures which were mistakenly reported in the national press.

An article published by a national newspaper on Sunday (27 September) claimed the pubco’s chief executive, Duncan Garrood, stated intentions to close 400 under-performing pubs.

But Punch has informed the PMA​ that the report was a mistake by a journalist, and the pubs in question are part of Punch’s non-core estate which have been earmarked for sale as part of the pubco’s on-going strategy for the last five years. the mistake has since been rectified.

Remain as pubs 

A spokesman said: “It is most likely that, when sold, these pubs will be sold as going concerns and remain as pubs.”

It was also reported that 158 Punch pubs were closed this year, but these pubs were sold to NewRiver Retai​l.

NewRiver has since stated that the vast majority will stay open as pubs.

Tax equality 

Garrood is an advocate of tax equality between pubs and supermarkets.

“We believe pubs are a vital part of the community and want all legislation to encourage their responsible use – not just for drinking but also as an eating out and social experience,” the Punch spokesman said.

“People are keen to eat out more however, this is an activity where people will weigh up the costs against staying in and we do not think there should be a tax implication here that could impact their decision.”

Punch does not suggest pubs should pay more VAT than supermarkets, but that there should not be disparity between the two.

“The more people eat out, the more jobs can be created in the hospitality industry and more money can be invested in providing nutritional, balanced, exciting food choices,” the spokesman added.

Related topics Punch Pubs & Co

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