British Pubs Close at Higher Rate in Tough Economy

The rate of pub closures in the United Kingdom is accelerating, with 52 of the country's drinking spots going out of business every week at a cost of 24,000 jobs over the past year.

Almost 2,400 pubs and bars have vanished from British villages and towns in the past 12 months, according to research for the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). Local pubs serving small communities have been the worst hit, the association said.

The number of closures represents the steepest rate of decline since records began in 1990 and has risen by a third compared with the same period last year, when 36 pubs were closing every week.

A preference for drinking more cheaply at home, rather than going out, is thought to have contributed to closures. “The biggest impact is the recession. There are fewer people out and fewer people spending money in pubs and bars. Pubs are diversifying but, unfortunately, if you are a community pub you can’t transform yourself into a trendy town center bar,” said a BBPA spokesman.

The BBPA said that the total number of pubs and bars has fallen from a steady 60,000 “for years” to the 53,466 still trading. The recession is claiming about 461 bar jobs a week, according to the figures, compiled by CGA Strategy, the market information group.

The BBPA said that establishments that serve foods were more resilient, closing at a rate of only one a week. By contrast, branded pubs and café-style bars are faring relatively well and are opening at a rate of two every seven days.

Click here to read the full report from The Times of London.