The number of permanent pub closures across England and Wales has halved in the first six months of 2019 compared to the previous half-year, analysis of government data has revealed.
While the overall number of pubs in the region still declined by 235 across 2019 up to 30 June, the number stood as a dramatic decrease from the previous six months, when 914 shut.
The figures relate to those premises that have been demolished or converted into another kind of use - such as housing or non-hospitality business operations.
According to analysis from Altus Group, there are currently more than 41,000 pubs operating in England and Wales. The rate of decline currently stands at around nine per week, compared to just over 35 in the previous period.
Kate Nicholls, chief of industry body UKHospitality, said that while the decrease in closures was welcome, more needed to be done to stymie the risk to operators.
She added: "Cost pressures, principally extortionate business rates, are pushing too many pubs to the margins and high streets are being squeezed. We have heard various members of the government say they wish to stimulate investment in high streets and support businesses.
"If they are serious, then they need to tackle these increasing costs. Otherwise, more pubs will close."