Demand for late night license in on-trade down 20% in five years

The number of pubs, bars and nightclubs with 24-hour alcohol licenses has fallen nearly 20% in five years, a new study has found, as demand for late night drinking slows.

According to commercial law firm EMW, Since 2013, the number of number of pubs, bars and nightclubs with 24-hour alcohol licenses fell by 19%, from 919 in 2013 to around 742 last year, fuelled by low wage growth and the changing attitudes to booze among younger millennial consumers.

Meanwhile the number of supermarkets and retailers with a 24-hour license has increased 40% over the same period, from 1,909 in 2013 to 2680 last year, it said.

The firm argued that low real wage growth since the financial crisis as well as the uncertainties around Brexit had  dampened consumer spending in the late-night leisure sector and this was driving a shift in spending away from pubs and bars towards supermarkets, where alcohol is cheaper.

Marco Mauro, Legal Director at EMW said that although 24-hour alcohol licenses were expected to boost the night-time economy “this has simply not happened.”

“Continued cultural changes in the way people interact and socialise, such as through dating apps, and the rise of Netflix, has created less demand for pubs, bars and nightclubs. Increasingly many individuals are also now not going out until much later in the evening, and, as a result, they can often spend less on drinks at the pubs.”

He argued that for many venues, it was not financially sustainable to stay open for 24-hours as the costs outweighed the potential extra revenue.

He argued that without a more supportive attitude from local and central Government, there would be a “further decline in this part of the late-night economy”.

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