Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 22nd July 2019
Pub businesses have been closing at a rate of 40 per month over the course of this year, according to the latest figures on the subject.
Rising costs have been cited as a key part of the problem for a lot of pub operators who’ve found themselves unable to carry on running their businesses in recent months.
Meanwhile, a growing number of consumers have been opting to buy their beverages at supermarkets rather than heading to their local pubs for a few drinks, which has had an eroding effect on the profit margins of pubs nationwide.
A total of 235 pubs across the country are believed to have closed for good in the first six months of this year, according to the Altus Group, a real estate data company.
However, that figure represents a slowing down of the pace at which pubs are closing, with the first half of 2018 having seen pubs closing at a rate of roughly 70 per month.
In addition to dealing with changing consumer habits, a lot of pub operators have been struggling to cover the costs of business rates and increases to the national minimum wage.
Responding to the latest figures on pub closures across the country, the chief executive of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, welcomed the news that rates of closure are slowing down but also expressed concern about what the future might hold for operators in the industry.
“Cost pressures, principally extortionate business rates, are pushing too many pubs to the margins and high streets are being squeezed,” Ms Nicholls said in a statement.
“We have heard various members of the government say they wish to stimulate investment in high streets and support businesses,” she went on. “If they are serious, then they need to tackle these increasing costs – otherwise, more pubs will close.”
Alex Probyn from the Altus Group commented in response to his own organisation’s recent findings that the decision by the government to introduce a business rates discount for small scale high street operators in England would have beneficial effects going forward.
“The new retail relief, which discounted business rates bills by a third from April 1 for smaller pubs in England, will certainly have helped to ease cost pressures with the average small pub saving £6,052,” he said.