CONFIDENCE within the pub sector is considerably higher than it was last year, a new report has concluded.
The annual public house survey, by property firm Jones Lang LaSalle, highlighted strengthened confidence in the overall market, with 61.4% of respondents strongly positive about trade in the medium-term and 38.7% confident in their short-term outlook.
More than a third (35%) reported no change in their wet sales over the last year, with only 9% reporting a decrease.
The figures are in “stark contrast” to last year’s survey, which Jones Lang LaSalle said suggests the market is “levelling out”.
Operators are also confident about future food sales. Despite a 14.9% drop in food sales reported in 2011, almost a third of respondents (29%) have identified dining and food-led businesses as areas for growth.
Harry Hawksby, director in the licensed leisure and hotels division at Jones Lang La Salle, said although conditions remain challenging for the UK’s pubs, respondents are “far more optimistic” about future trade than 12 months ago.
“Today’s consumers are more focused on value, which typically does not necessitate the need for cheap pricing, but the delivery of good value and a quality experience,” he said.
“At a local level the consumer maintains a proportion of their weekly budget for leisure spend and will not completely forgo the social enjoyment and interaction of visiting their local pub.
“The next 12 months are likely to see the market continue to polarise, with public houses which offer food performing much better than their alcohol-only counterparts.
“Well-managed and capitalised businesses will continue to trade positively in this challenging market.”