16 licensed venues closed per day from July to September

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Closed sites: the number of licensed venues fell by almost 1,000 over the course of two months (image: Getty/whitemay)
Closed sites: the number of licensed venues fell by almost 1,000 over the course of two months (image: Getty/whitemay)

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A total of 980 licensed premises were lost in the period from restrictions being fully lifted in July to September this year, new data has revealed.

The latest Market Recovery Monitor ​from CGA and AlixPartners found independently-run pubs, restaurants, bars and other licensed venues accounted for almost three quarters of the closures, reducing this segment of the market by 1%.

However, in contrast, the managed sector achieved a marginal growth in the number of sites, of 0.1%.

Furthermore, for nightclubs, which were completely closed from March 2020 until July 2021, there was a drop of almost 100 to just over 1,000 in September – a fall of 9% in just two months.

Crisis far from over

The closures of venues across the industry means there are now 9,000 fewer licensed premises than before the pandemic.

The report warned of further business failures before the end of this year if significant trading challenges are not addressed.

CGA business unit director for hospitality operators and food EMEA Karl Chessell said: “These numbers are a reminder – if it were needed – that the crisis in hospitality is far from over.

“Restrictions on socialising and trading may have eased but their impacts continue to be felt by restaurants, pubs and bars whose reserves have been eaten up by months of closures."

Challenging winter ahead

He added: “Factor in a crisis in recruitment, rising costs in many key areas and widespread supply issues, it is clear thousands of firms and jobs remain vulnerable.

“Targeted Government support on these major challenges – starting with more VAT relief – is needed to help prevent hospitality’s recovery from stalling.”

The figures are a stark reminder the full lifting of restrictions in July did not signal the end to challenges faced by hospitality businesses, AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith highlighted.

He added: “The impact on nightclubs, which were unable to trade at all during the pandemic, has been particularly acute with almost one in 10 sites closing in the past 10 months.

“Demand remains strong but with staff shortages, utility cost inflation and supply chain disruption, there are renewed efforts to secure continued Government support to the industry to help it weather this storm as the reopening and rehabilitation process continues through what may be a challenging winter.”

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