The leisure, entertainment and hospitality industries had some good times last year
Britons have always put a premium on going out and enjoying themselves.
Pubs, clubs, bingo halls and sport have always been popular but the past few years and 2019 in particular has seen mixed fortunes for these pillars of our shared social lives.
Clubbed to death
Nearly half of all clubs, 1,400, have closed their doors for the last time, removing an estimated £200m from the UK economy and Kate Nicholls of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) which represents these venues says that in some towns they’re gone for good and are never going to get them back.
While acknowledging that various other factors have impacted on clubbing including extended pub opening hours, smoking bans, student tuition fees and ten years of austerity, local planning and licensing rules have also had a detrimental impact along with rising rents and increasingly strict police and local authority regulations.
“People want to have their cake and eat it. If you want vibe and to live in a cool area, then you need the other, edgier side of it”, going on to stay that it’s too easy for neighbours to complain if they live nearby – even if the venue was there and has been for many years before they moved in.
Early doors reopening?
It’s not all doom and gloom however.
The pub sector is looking at a surprise recovery according to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
After ten years of continual decline including 6,000 pubs closing down or 700 a year, in the past 12 months there were 39,135 pubs in the UK, which was a net gain of 320 – the first since 2009.
The British Beer & Pub Association is cautiously optimistic about the figures and believes closures still outnumber openings but said the rate of decline has slowed.
“Our pubs continue to be under severe pressure to stay open. Closures have been driven by increasing and considerable cost pressures from a range of sources; particularly high beer duty, unfair business rates and VAT.
“This is deeply concerning because pubs are a great British institution and are often the social hub of their local community.”
No longer a full house
We’ve previously written about the decline of the high street bookmaker with William Hill’s plans for closing 700 stores and Ladbrokes and Coral’s owner GVC considering closing 1000.
Are any of the other traditional gambling and sporting venues holding their own against the modern tides and trends threatening to sweep them away?
The short answer might be no. Towcester became the first UK racecourse since 2012 to close down; Bury FC went into administration and were expelled from the Football League, Bolton Wanderers very nearly joined them and several other clubs including Macclesfield Town and Birmingham City have already been served with winding up orders this season.
Many local bingo halls have also seen their numbers drop precipitously over the past year and previous decade as more players move online in a familiar story to many outlets with physical bricks and mortar properties will attest.
The festive period is a time for people to go out and enjoy themselves so we hope your business enjoys a good one!
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