Thursday, 7 January 2010

52 Pubs A Week Close. And..?

Have you ever wondered about these numbers? The entire industry is working (sometimes together, sometimes seemingly at odds with each other. Guys, can't we all just GET ALONG?!) to slow or stop the loss of so many public houses and, with the curious exception of News International, all agree we are losing 52 pubs a week across the country. NI are odd because, while they seemingly agree that around 2600 pubs have gone to the wall in the past year, this somehow equals 26 per week.

Anyway, this data has to come from somewhere, so I decided to try and find out. Not too hard, just casually. Having read Pete Brown's 2009-10 Cask Ale Report, I decided to follow some numbers. First stop was the BBPA, who issue regular press releases on pub losses, and usually include some regional or other info. That suggested that they get numbers based on type of outlet, net losses (including new openings), and the regional structure they use. They didn't respond, and why would they? Sid Boggle is just a pest.

So, remembering that CGA Strategy got a namecheck in the Cask Ale Report, I had a wander over to their website. They have a number of products which slice and dice on-trade data according to type of ownership and a bunch of other factors. Drinks Places Plus, for instance, provides a full breakdown of tenure, trading suppliers, choice of supplier and who operates the place.

I emailed them to ask if they could clarify how their data went back to BBPA. It's fair to assume that BBPA get regional breakdown, since it's included in their most recent press release on pub closures, but I've never seen any of the numbers under the banner of "XX PUBS LOST A WEEK!". However, I never received a reply. Fair enough, why should they? Sid Boggle isn't in the market to licence their data from them.

I've seen previous comments about the credibility of the BBPA, since they are strong supporters of the pubcos that many people blame for the loss of many pubs, and certainly there's a degree of smugness in the press release they issued following the OFT's rejection of CAMRA's super-complaint in October. I don't know about that, but I would like to see some more meaningful numbers accompanying the regular reports on pub losses. Would you?


Tandleman said...

Sid. Yes. It is impossible to know the truth of this, or how they are made up.

Paul Garrard said...

I have long wondered where these numbers come from and how many pubs reopen. Credible info seems hard to come by. I wish you luck in trying to track it down.

Bailey said...

I can only speak from my own observations, but I really don't see many pubs closing in the bit of London where I live, or in central London where I work. Those that do close re-open fairly sharpish under new management or are replaced by a new pub nearby. I wonder if they count every time a pub closes but don't bother recording when it re-opens...? That might explain the very high figure.

Sid Boggle said...

Bailey: They say the figures are net, so include new openings, but I expect that there'd be some kind of lag between one pub disappearing and then re-opening. Assuming it takes longer than 3 months, it ought to reappear in the following quarter's figures.