Scottish pubs had a merry Christmas

SCOTTISH pubs seem to have had a merry Christmas last month, with three quarters of premises reporting significant growth when compared to the 2018 festive season.

That was one of the top-line findings from the most recent Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) Market Review, which polled 500 outlets across the country on their trading experiences at the close of 2019.

Overall, 64% of respondents to the survey reported their business was either stable or in growth throughout 2019, despite problems caused by issues such as business rates and Brexit, with 22% reporting “significant growth”. And festive trading was even stronger, with 75% reporting they were growing or stable over the Christmas and new year period.

Only 6% of respondents said they suffered a significant decline in 2019.

There was good news from rural outlets too, with 50% stable at Christmas and new year and 33% in growth.

SLTA managing director, Colin Wilkinson, said the results of the survey were “encouraging”, particularly after what had been a strong year of trading for many in 2018.

“Our survey covers all types of licensed premises and is an indicator of the key challenges facing the wide range of small to large businesses which trade within the wider hospitality sector,” said Wilkinson.

“Our survey is based upon quantitative research from 500 outlets covering the length and breadth of the country and is supported by major food and drink chains, independent pubs, bars and hotels in Scotland’s hospitality sector.

“2018 was a buoyant year for the sector with the World Cup and a hot summer, so it is encouraging to see that so many of our [members] performed well at Christmas and New Year and throughout 2019.”