A third of adults are planning a trip to the pub when they reopen at the weekend in a much-needed boost for landlords, new research predicts.
Takings in English pubs are set to reach £210 million over the July 4 weekend, about 72 per cent higher than the average weekend turnover, according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
After more than three months stuck at home, drinkers are expected to “loosen their purse strings significantly”, the think tank said.
Though a majority of the population remains cautious about returning to crowded establishments, some 35 per cent will visit pubs within a week of being permitted.
The CEBR expects some 6.5 million pub trips over the weekend — 1.5 million more than normal.
The long-term picture is cloudier. The easing of the social distancing regime, replacing the twometre rule with the new “one -metre plus” recommendation, means that more pubs will be able to reopen. However it will remain a “considerable restriction for others”, the CEBR added.
Capacity will remain capped at about 70 per cent of pre-crisis levels, meaning fewer customers and slimmer profit margins. Average profits for those that do reopen will be just 46 per cent of previous earnings, it predicted.
With a quarter of pubs unable to reopen, the sector’s profitability will be down about 75 per cent on what it was before the rules were put in place. The CEBR said this “posed a considerable threat to the industry as a whole”.
“So long as lingering fears around the virus continue to thwart consumer confidence, even Dutch courage won’t be enough to fuel spending beyond the initial reopening,” it added.