Eight licensed sites closed per day in past year

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Response to pressures: the rate of licensed site closures has almost doubled in the past year
Response to pressures: the rate of licensed site closures has almost doubled in the past year
According to the latest edition of CGA Insights and AlixPartners’ Market Growth Monitor, Britain has 3,116 fewer restaurants, pubs, bars and other licensed premises than it did 12 months ago.

The report reveals that there were 119,800 licensed sites across Britain in June 2018, a 2.5% year-on-year decline meaning that, on average, eight licensed premises closed per day in the past year.

This rate of closure is almost double that recorded in the 2017 edition of the Monitor, which noted a 1.3% year-on-year decline in the number of licensed sites.

According to the report, community pubs account for the largest number of closures within the pub sector.

With London seeing a 2.3% fall in licensed site numbers, the report also revealed that operators are increasingly looking to northern city centres including Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, for new openings – with the number of managed restaurants outside the M25 increasing by 5.9%.

Increasing pace of closure

CGA vice-president Peter Martin said: “Given the multitude of challenges facing the sector at the moment, it is no surprise to find that the pace of licensed premises closures is increasing.

“People continue to eat and drink out, and new and exciting restaurant, pub and bar brands are still achieving impressive growth.

“But competition from these dynamic start-ups, rising costs and the fickle nature of many consumers are combining to turn up the heat on established restaurant brands.

“In the current climate, standing still is simply not an option.”

Response to market pressures

AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith added: “The Monitor tells the story of a market responding to current pressures.

“Restaurant expansion is still on the agenda for some companies, particularly in those locations across the UK that have previously been under-served by casual dining operators, but management teams and investors need to carefully consider their opening strategies.

“When it comes to pubs, operators with a well-executed food offer remain attractive, and those who add accommodation to the mix are under the spotlight of investors looking to businesses with more diversified revenue streams and broader trading windows.”

Government support 'crucial'

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “The perfect storm of cost pressures presented by ever-increasing business rates and wage costs continues to batter the hospitality sector.

"Despite promises from the Government to reform business rates, pubs, restaurants and bars are still forced to operate within an unfair system that favours digital businesses above those at the heart of communities.

“With Brexit a little over six months away, it is crucial that the Government provides the sector with the support it needs and that has been repeatedly promised.

"UKHospitality will be hammering home the message ahead of the Budget that, unless support is provided, the rate of closures will only increase.”

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