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Britain sees 3,000 licensed premise closures in a year

Published:  10 September, 2018

The number of licensed sites across Britain has dropped to 119,800 in the past year, with a total of 3,116 restaurants, pubs, bars and other licensed premises having been closed down.

The amount of closures, which translates to a 2.5% drop, represents average net closures in the year to June 2018 of eight premises a day, according to the latest Market Growth Monitor released today by CGA in partnership with AlixPartners.

The rate of closures has nearly doubled since the last edition of the Market Growth Monitor three months ago, when the year-on-year decline measured 1.3%.

Every part of the country has seen a decline, ranging from 3.4% in Wales to 1% in the West Midlands, with London experiencing a 2.3% fall.

Community pubs continue to account for the majority of closures, but the report also indicates that restaurant numbers are falling too.

After a period of growth that has seen Britain’s total restaurants increase 11% in five years, numbers fell 1% in the 12 months to June 2018.

Given the "multitude of challenges" facing the sector at the moment, it was no surprise to see the pace of closures increasing, said CGA vice president Peter Martin.

“People continue to eat and drink out, and new and exciting restaurant, pub and bar brands are still achieving impressive growth. But competition from these dynamic start-ups, rising costs and the fickle nature of many consumers are combining to turn up the heat on established restaurant brands. In the current climate, standing still is simply not an option,” he said.

Operators continue to increasingly look beyond London and the south east for openings -the number of managed, branded restaurants outside the M25 increasing by 5.9% in the last year compared to just 1.5% within it, with Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds all now having at least a fifth more licensed premises than five years ago.

The casual dining sector has seen a series of closures and CVAs from a number of high-profile names in the first half of 2018, although others, especially ambitious fledgling brands, continue are continuing to expand.