The challenges the hospitality industry faced throughout 2022, such as soaring energy bills, staff shortages, rising food costs and lower consumer demand, significantly impacted the number of pubs closing around the UK.
Recent data analysed by real estate adviser, Altus Group, revealed that the overall number of pubs dropped by 386 last year. Over 32 pubs shut down in England and Wales each month in 2022, with Wales having 50 pubs closed in total. In addition, there were 39,787 pubs vacant and available for lease in December 2022 in England and Wales compared to 40,173 at the same time of year in 2021.
According to the same data, 13.1% less pubs closed their doors permanently last year in comparison to 2021 which revealed the effort UK customers made to support local businesses despite the economic crisis scenario.
Moreover, figures showed that in the last five years, 2,663 pubs have disappeared from the communities, being either demolished or transformed into houses and offices.
As stated by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), businesses have already adopted some measures like reducing their working hours and decreasing menu options to avoid closure. Most pubs are afraid of being forced to shut down without government support, especially with current energy costs.
Emma McClarkin, BBPA Chief Executive, said:
"While these figures are upsetting, they are unfortunately not surprising. Pubs and brewers are facing extreme challenges, they are doing whatever they can to keep going.
Pubs want to stay open and provide a warm and welcoming space for their communities this winter, but urgently need clarity on whether the energy bill relief scheme will be extended, and that suppliers to be held accountable on hidden costs.
With rocketing energy costs, soaring inflation, severe labour shortages and plummeting consumer confidence, pubs are being pushed to breaking point we need intervention as soon as possible, otherwise many more will be forced to close, and we'll lose them from the heart of villages, towns and cities across the UK forever."