The UK's top 10 biggest pub operators sold off 820 sites in 2016

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Many pubs are no longer "wet-led" (Source: Getty)

Britain's biggest pub companies sold off 820 of their sites last year, City A.M. can reveal.

The cumulative portfolios of the top 10 pub groups was reduced to 15,020 in 2016 from 15,840 in 2015, according to Ortus Secured Finance.

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Ortus said that companies are selling off assets in order to pay down debt and restructure.

The reduction of portfolios is also linked to the rise of the gastropub, as big groups sold local watering holes to focus on sites which can serve food.

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Ortus managing director Jon Salisbury said this “allowed smaller operators to step up and help relaunch community pubs which are an important cornerstone of a local area.”

Restructuring is also a major reason for selling off pubs, especially after mergers. Heineken recently offered to sell off some Punch Tavern sites to appease competition regulators.

Spending in pubs and restaurants remains high despite low consumer confidence, according to separate figures from both Barclaycard and Visa earlier this week.

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