St Austell latest pub group to announce job cuts

Cornish brewer and pub operator St Austell has become the latest pub group to announce possible job cuts, with reports it is considering laying off up to 100 workers.

The company, which also owns Bath Ales, told ITV News that it was considering making up to 100 people redundant after experiencing a 90% fall in revenue during the lockdown.

It follows an organisational review of the business, which it began in July and is due to finish by the end of next month.

St Austell currently operates around 180 pubs in south west England, which currently remains in Tier 1 (medium) of England’s coronavirus alert system.

In a statement, Kevin Georgel, chief executive of St Austell Brewery, said: “The months since [lockdown] have been hugely challenging and we’ve been regularly communicating with our teams – including those on furlough – about the significant financial impact we’ve faced. The pandemic continues to have a knock-on effect and, despite reopening our pubs, our trading levels are much lower than last year.

“Thanks to government support we’ve been able to keep all of our people employed throughout the crisis however, as the furlough scheme tapers out, we can no longer maintain our current staffing levels. Regrettably, this means we’re having to make some very difficult decisions, which will result in job losses. Like all companies in the hospitality sector we must adapt to how the market has changed. Therefore, we need to simplify our business to become more sustainable, overcome the financial challenges we face and safeguard St Austell Brewery’s future.”

It follows reports that pub group Marston’s is to axe 2,150 jobs, while Fullers is considering reducing its workforce by 10%, equating to 500 jobs.

J.D. Wetherspoon, which recently reported its first loss in 36 years, has also said that up to 450 jobs at its airport sites were at risk. Pub company Greene King also announced this month that it will close 79 pubs within its portfolio and axe 800 jobs. 

The Financial Times reported that Young’s will be making 500 people redundant by the end of this month, while the City Pub Group was planning to reduce its 1,000-strong workforce by a quarter.

In a statement last week, Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) welcomed the additional support measures announced by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, but added that 90% of pubs were making a loss, with members of the organisation predicting sales will be down 50% on last year.

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