A survey of towns and cities in which 223 Wetherspoon pubs has opened since 2010 found that many have subsequently seen increase in licensed premises.
Within three years of opening more than half (57.5%) of the areas within a half-mile radius had increased their number of licensed premises, while only two in five (42.6%) had recorded a decline, the Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners research showed.
Rather than driving out independents and scaring off multi-site operators, a JD Wetherspoon opening could have a ‘halo effect’ attracting more people into an area to eat or drink, especially in city centres, the report suggested.
As many as two thirds (66.7%) of Wetherspoon new city locations had seen the number of licensed premises within half a mile increase three years after opening, the data revealed.
The number of food-led sites increased by more than half (52.7%) of locations, while the number of drink-led venues rose by 25.6%.
However, the picture was different for the suburbs with fewer than a third (29.5%) of locations recording growth in licensed premises during the same three year period.
“It’s sometimes argued that JD Wetherspoon has a damaging effect on the towns and cities where it opens new pubs, but our latest Market Growth Monitor indicates this often isn’t the case,” CGA vice president Peter Martin said.
“There is no doubt that Wetherspoon’s value proposition brings challenges for nearby drink-led pubs and bars, but for well-differentiated food-led offers the impact can be more positive or neutral. People continue to eat and drink out, and there is clearly room for a huge diversity of multi-site brands and independents to succeed.”