Wetherspoons reveals which of its pubs are closing for good
Value-focused pub chain Wetherspoons has announced the full list of pubs it has either already sold off or that remain up for sale, as the business looks to bounce back from pandemic-indusded shifts in consumer behaviour.
Wetherspoons chairman Tim Martin has been outspoken in recent months about the issue he feels is causing the most damage to his business: tax ‘disparity’ between pubs and supermarkets.
Wetherspoons owns and operates 844 pubs and hotels across the UK, though has recently announced a full list of venues it is either in the process of selling, or has already sold.
“The biggest threat to the hospitality industry is the vast disparity in tax treatment between pubs and restaurants and supermarkets,” Martin said of the challenges his company is facing.
Supermarkets pay zero VAT in respect of food sales, whereas pubs and restaurants pay 20%. This tax benefit allows supermarkets to subsidise the selling price of beer. We estimate that supermarkets have taken about half of the pub industry’s beer volumes since Wetherspoon started trading in 1979, a process that has likely accelerated following the pandemic.”
Wetherspoons announced last year that it planned to sell off close to 40 venues due to changes in consumer behaviour and soaring costs.
That number rose again in November after the pub chain witnessed a 1.1% sales drop.
Tim Martin said of the change in consumer behaviour brought about by the coronavirus pandemic:
“The aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have been far more difficult than anyone thought.
“That is the picture for the whole pub and restaurant industry. People thought that after lockdown there would be a boom in people suffering from cabin fever but, instead, it has almost been the opposite situation as people have got in the habit of staying in.
“That’s the big thing that means sales are down on 2019. Things are improving now but it’s slow.”
Despite this, he said he remained “cautiously optimistic” about the pub’s prospects.
Here is the full list of Wetherspoons venues that have already been sold:
Harvest Moon, Orpington
Alexander Bain, Wick
Chapel an Gansblydhen, Bodmin
Moon on the Square, Basildon
Coal Orchard, Taunton
Running Horse, Airside Doncaster Airport
Wild Rose, Bootle
Edmund Halley, Lee Green
The Willow Grove, Southport
Postal Order, Worcester
North and South Wales Bank, Wrexham
And these venues remain up for sale:
The Butlers Bell, Stafford
Worlds Inn, Romford
Silkstone Inn, Barnsley
Wrong ‘Un, Bexleyheath
The Percy Shaw, Halifax
Jolly Sailor, Hanham
The Alfred Herring, Palmers Green
The Moon & Bell, Loughborough
The Widow Frost, Mansfield
Foxley Hatch, Purley
The Rising Sun, Redditch
Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis, Southampton
The Colombia Press, Watford
The Malthouse, Willenhall
The John Masefield, New Ferry
The Crosse Keys, Peebles
Lord Arthur Lee, Fareham
The Saltoun Inn, Fraserburgh
General Sir Redvers Buller, Crediton
Plough & Harrow, Hammersmith
Thomas Leaper, Derby
Tollgate, Turnpike Lane
Millers Well, East Ham
Hudson Bay, Forest Gate
The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich
Capitol, Forest Hill
The Bankers Draft, Eltham
Moon on the Hill, Harrow
The Bank House, Cheltenham
Last Post, Loughton