Pubs close at a rate of five a day, says research

08 September 2008 by
Pubs close at a rate of five a day, says research

Pub closures in Britain accelerated to five a day during the first half of this year, according to figures from the British Beer & Pub Association.

Pubs are now closing at the rate of 36 a week, up 33% from the 27 closures a week during 2007, according to the BBPA, whose members own nearly two thirds of Britain's 57,000 pubs.

The gloomy figures are the latest evidence of the grim trading conditions faced by the UK pub industry, which has been hit by rising food and fuel prices and customers drinking at home to save money in response to the economic downturn.

The BBPA urged the government to rethink plans for tax rises on drinking and regulations on the pub industry.

BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward said: "Sliding consumer confidence and spiralling inflation are hitting pubs in two ways. Not only are the costs of running a pub increasing, but fewer people through the door means less cash in the tills.

"Despite this, the Government seems intent on increasing the burden on pubs. Its current proposals to target pubs with a raft of new red tape such as statutory codes of conduct and ratchet up taxes with its beer duty escalator will only make matters worse. Such policies will only drive up costs for pubs and prices for punters. Government needs to wake up to what's happening in the real world of the pub."

The BBPA said British pubs are closing nine times faster than in 2006, and 18 times faster than in 2005.

The BBPA figures are the latest bad news for the pub industry. Research published last month said that UK pubs have had an even worse summer than last year.

Volume sales of alcohol in licensed premises including pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels fell 8% in the year to 9 August, while sales in supermarkets, convenience stores and supermarkets rose 3% in the same period, according to market research company Nielsen.

JD Wetherspoon's profits suffer from ‘traumatic year' >> Spirit to restructure in light of falling sales >> Greene King to reduce beer and wine prices >> UK pubs suffering from worse summer >> By Nick Huber

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