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Restaurants openings in 2017 show signs of saturation ahead of casual-dining crisis

18 April 2018 by
Restaurants openings in 2017 show signs of saturation ahead of casual-dining crisis

The number of restaurants in the UK grew by a modest 0.6% in 2017, assigns of saturation began to show ahead of 2018's casual-dining crisis.

The total number of licensed premises fell by 0.3% during the year, a net closure of one a day, according to the Market Growth Monitor by CGA and AlixPartners

The figures do not take into account the closures seen in early 2018, when companies including Prezzo, Jamie's Italian and Byron announced plans to reduce their portfolios and sought Company Voluntary Agreements.

The report's authors noted signs of market saturation in areas including Solihull, which saw a 12.6% increase in licensed premises between 2012 and 2017, Milton Keynes, which saw a 11.5% rise, and Chelmsford, which had a 5.2% rise. Both Milton Keynes and Chelmsford saw closures earlier this year as chains off-loaded less profitable or loss-making sites.

Graeme Smith, managing director at AlixPartners, said: "With some casual-dining operators announcing restaurant closures at the start of 2018, there has been much talk of over-supply in many of Britain's cities and towns. But where exactly is supply exceeding demand?

"CGA's 2018 Business Leaders' Survey indicates that some - though by no means all - casual-dining brands will be reining in their new openings plans this year, and recent high-profile casualties are unlikely to be the last to close under-performing sites. For all brands, selecting the right towns for openings will be more important than ever."

Pub closures slowed to 2.4 a day in 2017, down from an average of 3.2 a day for the five years to December 2017. The report's authors found that food-led pubs had improved their fortunes.

On the whole, high streets held up better than suburbs in 2017. The number of licensed premises rose by 80 compared to December 2016 (0.2%) in high streets, but fell by 361 (0.8%) in the suburbs, with rural areas seeing 87 closures (0.2%).

The north west of England saw the most growth in 2017, with the number of licensed sites increasing by 0.7% to 15,688. In contrast, London saw the number of licensed premises fall by 1% to 23,208.

Number of licenced premises steady despite "very tough year" of trading>>

Managed restaurant brands grow despite mounting sector costs>>

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