The number of pubs in the UK increased for the first time in 10 years in 2019.
Hospitality industry software firm Stampede analysed new statistics from the ONS which reported 39,135 pubs at the end of March 2019, an increase of 320 compared with the previous year.
The group said the UK has lost 732 pubs per year on average since 2010, so 2019’s net gain of 320 represents a “swing” of nearly 1,000 compared to previous years. It added that this is a “remarkable” turnaround, given the “systematic” year decline this decade and “numerous challenges” facing pub operators.
Additional analysis from Stampede suggests that growth in pubs has “little to do with people drinking more”, and instead comes down to pubs and bars “coping better with industry challenges”.
The firm said many have “embraced” innovation and new revenue streams, and more pubs now offer food, accommodation and a greater variety of weekday events to maximise profits. It added that pubs can “no longer afford” to rely on the same old regulars to keep coming through the door.
Patrick Clover, Stampede founder and CEO, said: “The pub trade has had very little to celebrate in the last decade, but I’m sure they’ll raise a glass to these new numbers. Pubs have a hugely important place in our society both socially as well as economically, being one of the UK’s biggest employers.
“The reduction of pubs over the last decade has been heart-breaking, following devastating changes to business taxes and alcohol duties, but I hope these figures signpost a reversal of fortunes.”
He added: “Indeed, we saw our local district of Edinburgh increase the number of pubs significantly this year, and I like to think we played our part in that. Stampede’s aim is to become indispensable to every pub, bar, hotel and restaurant owner in the UK. We want to bring the heart back into these beloved venues that are at the centre of our communities.”
It comes after JD Wetherspoon announced this week that it would be investing over £200m in order to develop new pubs and hotels, as well as expanding existing ones in the UK and Ireland, creating about 10,000 new jobs.