Britain’s number of licensed premises has fallen by 3.6% over the last 12 months to 99,916 sites, according to the latest Hospitality Market Monitor from AlixPartners and CGA by NIQ.

The total at the end of September 2023 marks the first time it has dropped below 100,000 in the Monitor’s history. The 3,766 drop over this 12-month period is also equivalent to more than ten net closures every day.

However, the pace of venue failures has slowed as the year has progressed. The Hospitality Market Monitor recorded a fall in licensed premises over the third quarter of 2023 of only 0.3% – equivalent to just under three net closures a day.

Our latest report flags a particularly robust quarter for the managed hospitality sector. This segment achieved 0.5% growth in the three months to September 2023, in contrast to a 0.6% drop in the number of independently run venues. Many of Britain’s biggest city centres also saw a net quarter-on-quarter increase in sites, including London, Manchester, and Edinburgh.

While it is never nice to see the number of licensed premises in the UK continue to fall, what the figures don’t show is that, while the sector has contracted overall, this masks an evolution of the market as it has become more varied and more innovative. In addition, the standard of offer across the full spectrum of the hospitality industry has never been higher.

The reported slowing in contraction for site closures in the past quarter comes after a period of significant estate consolidation. It also marks a period when many operators have tentatively returned to the expansion trail, coupled with the continued entry of new concepts and international brands into the sector. If consumers continue to spend on hospitality and experiences in the face of more challenging economic conditions, we could see site numbers begin to expand again in 2024.

Read our full Hospitality Market Monitor report below: