Tue, Dec 18, 2018 - Page 11 News List

UK restaurant closures surge: report

Reuters, LONDON

More than 1,000 restaurants close down in Britain in the year through September, a 24 percent rise on the previous 12 months as the industry grapples with overcapacity as consumer spending slows, accountants Moore Stephens said yesterday.

Restaurant chains such as Carluccio’s, Prezzo, Jamie’s Italian and Strada have closed outlets in the last year, and there are few signs of any pickup in demand.

“Closures in the restaurant sector are at epidemic levels now,” Moore Stephens head of restructuring and insolvency Jeremy Willmont said in a statement. “The impact is visible on almost every high street of a major town or city.”

Moore Stephens said that 1,219 restaurants closed across the nation in the year to September, up from 985 the previous year.

“In the wake of Brexit uncertainty and interest rate rises, it seems consumers are tightening their belts and discretionary spending is the first thing to go,” Willmont said.

British consumer spending grew last month at its slowest pace in more than a year and retailers have already sounded the alarm about the Christmas period, including Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, who said on Thursday last week that trading this month had been “unbelievably bad.”

Restaurants also face pressure from rising wages, and higher food and beverage prices due to a weak British pound, Moore Stephens said.

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