Number of UK pubs rises for first time in a decade

The UK’s pub industry is reversing a decade of decline with a net growth of 320 pubs and bars, according to a new report by Edinburgh-based startup digital growth service Stampede. The study found there was a net gain of 320 pubs in 2019, the first time the number of pubs in the UK had increased for a decade. There was a net loss of 5,855 pubs in the UK between 2010 and 2018 at an average of 732 a year. Large pub groups are driving growth in the sector.

The growth was led by England, which saw an increase of 345 pubs, followed by Northern Ireland (five). Even though Scotland and Wales saw a fall in the number of pubs during the year – by five and 25 sites respectively – Stampede founder and chief executive Patrick Clover singled out Edinburgh because of an increase in its number of pubs.

He said, “Pubs have a hugely important place in our society both socially as well as economically, being one of the UK’s biggest employers. The reduction of pubs over the last decade has been heart-breaking, following devastating changes to business taxes and alcohol duties, but I hope these figures signpost a reversal of fortunes. Indeed, we saw our local district of Edinburgh increase the number of pubs significantly this year.”

The biggest increase (205) was from pub companies with a turnover of £500,000 to £1m, while the second-biggest increase (125) was in the £1m to £2m bracket. By contrast, the UK had a net loss of 55 sites for pub enterprises with a turnover of less than £100,000.

Licensed clubs remain on the decline, with 7,420 venues recorded in 2019 compared with 7,610 in 2018 and more than 10,000 in 2010, the report stated.

The report, entitled Raising The Bar, features figures from the Office of National Statistics, including data that has yet to be distributed, the company said.

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