Big pub companies have plenty to toast as turnover bubbles up 11 per cent in last year

Rebecca Smith
Larger pub companies have plenty to toast at the moment
Larger pub companies have plenty to toast at the moment (Source: Getty)

As many as 29 pubs close each week but the turnover of the UK's top 100 pubs and bars has increased by 30 per cent since 2008/09.

According to Ortus Secured Finance, the turnover of the top 100 pub and bar companies reached £11.7bn in 2015/16, up from £8.9bn in 2008/09 and that figure has grown by 11 per cent in the last year alone. It was £10.5bn for 2014/15.

The research identified the sharp rise as being driven primarily by the larger pub and bar companies. Greene King celebrated a bumper year after its takeover of the Spirit Pub Company and significant sporting events like the Rugby World Cup.

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Ortus also identified a move toward high margin, "luxury" drinks as customers have been increasingly drawn to drinks like limited edition brewed beers, locally distilled spirits and organic wines.

The booming success of bigger pubs and bars compared to smaller firms also stems from access to funding. Ortus noted that the larger names were able to access extra funding "relatively simply when required", allowing them to adapt products quickly to suit changes in consumer tastes. But it can be more difficult for the smaller players to secure loans from traditional lenders.

John Salisbury, managing director at Ortus, said: "Consumers are increasingly looking for smart, new venues that offer fashionable products. Many large companies have reacted quickly and intelligently and it is showing in their turnover. However, small pubs and bars also need to be able to quickly respond to changing preferences of their customers."

It comes as pub companies have warned the government that the price of a pint could surge by up to 30p, if they are not protected from upcoming troubles of inflation, rising business rates and the incoming national living wage.

Read more: HSBC marks out the winners and losers from the national living wage

The Sunday Times reported industry sources as saying the combination of these costs will add an estimated four per cent to overheads, making landlords weigh up whether to take a profit hit or pass on costs to customers.

Last week Young's unveiled solid results, but warned of "challenges ahead".

Chief executive Patrick Dardis, said: "There are challenges ahead: the uncertainty over Brexit and cost pressures such as the national living wage, the apprenticeship levy, and on a successful company like us, an exceptionally high increase in business rates."

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