Pubs report mixed trading for January

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Poll results: most respondents in the survey reported trade was as expected for January (image: Getty/didecs)
Poll results: most respondents in the survey reported trade was as expected for January (image: Getty/didecs)

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Trade in January has been mixed for the sector this year, with some operators revealing it is as expected, according to a flash survey of The Morning Advertiser readers.

Of the 137 respondents, almost three in 10 (28%) of operators revealed trade is currently as expected.

However, a quarter (25%) of those surveyed said trade was a little better than anticipated while a fifth (20%) said it was marginally worse than predicted.

More than a tenth (14%) said things were considerably worse than expected and 12% were experiencing significantly better trade than planned.

Staffing impact

This comes as analysis of official data revealed 41% of pub operators reduced staff numbers​ over the past month amid the myriad of rising costs.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics, commissioned by accountancy firm Price Bailey revealed more than half (58%) of the 504 licensees surveyed reported falling turnover.

Some three quarters (75%) of respondents have increased prices to cover energy costs while 54% and 45% were considering hiking prices to cover more expensive raw material and labour costs respectively.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, 39% of operators expect business performance to worsen compared to 16% who think it may improve.

Sector issues

Earlier this month (January), the Government announced it would reduce energy support for businesses​​ from Saturday 1 April.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt outlined the new Energy​​ Bill Discount Scheme, set to replace the Energy Bill Relief Scheme when it expires in March, which will see non-domestic energy customers receive discounts on wholesale prices.

Firms paying higher energy costs will see a unit discount of up to £6.97/MWh automatically applied to their gas bill and a discount of up to £19.61/Mwh applied to their electricity bills.

However, the new scheme, which is planned to run until Sunday 31 March 2024, will not apply to those paying lower energy prices.

Moreover, ongoing rail strikes are also dampening the industry’s recovery with trade body UKHospitality labelling sector sites as “collateral damage​​”.

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