Managed drink-led pubs achieve ‘striking’ 8.7% growth

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Front foot: managed drinks-led community pubs continue to expand
Front foot: managed drinks-led community pubs continue to expand

Related tags Market growth monitor Public house Peach

Rising business costs and difficult trading conditions have put the brakes on overall pub openings in the UK, but managed drinks-led community pubs and branded pubs have bucked the trend by continuing to expand, according to CGA Peach.

A report by AlixPartners CGA Peach Market Growth Monitor shows the country’s total number of licensed premises fell by 1.2% in the 12 months to March 2017.

In contrast, the report said the performance of managed drinks-led community locals, where growth in new openings hit 8.7% in the year to March 2017, was “striking”.

Managed drink-led pubs

“[Growth in this sector of pubs] has come from the likes of Greene King and the Ei Group, which have been transitioning many pubs to various managed formats; and pub turnaround specialists including Amber Taverns,” the report said.

Multi-site managed pub and restaurant businesses, especially in the casual dining sector, also rose by 2.5% in the year to March.

CGA Peach said the broader fall in pub openings was the result of continued closures in independent drinks-led pubs and restaurants. These pubs have been hit by a “triple whammy” of increased property, food and people costs, exacerbated by uncertainty over Brexit.

Long-term trend

The figures demonstrate a long-term trend away from independently run pubs and towards “trusted, well-managed brands”, especially in casual dining, said the report.

CGA Peach vice-president Peter Martin said: “Our latest market growth monitor shows that while the eating- and drinking-out markets are facing unprecedented challenges — the vast majority not of their own making — managed groups remain very much on the front foot.”

AlixPartners managing director Paul Hemming added: “There is no getting away from the fact that the eating- out and drinking-out sector is being challenged as never before.

“But despite these challenges, the AlixPartners CGA Peach Market Growth Monitor shows that many multi-site operators continue to expand, albeit in a more careful and considered manner than earlier in the cycle.”

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