I have recently completed another review of the pub market from my perspective and my record remains pretty good. Every so often I review the pubs that have shown up as potentials and look at where they are against my thoughts at the time, its nice to check. Where I concluded that there was simply not enough demand to support the house they have closed, on this I remain 100% accurate. Where people have lost their way with the business and are treating the commercial sale as a residential one they remain on the market. The trouble with this approach is that the emotions associated with selling a home are not supported by the reality of the trading figures, again I am bang on target.
This time around there are a couple of quirks of the market that surprised me. One premises that has been occasionally and very cautiously marketed, I got as far as the ferry on one occasion before they changed their minds, has ceased trading. It is always sad to see a venue cease trading under any circumstances but I was surprised to see plans to extend the post office counter to become the only trading activity. The pub rescued the post office service many years ago when it couldn’t survive on its own for this to have now overtaken the pub in terms of trading viability is both astonishing and sad. I suspect that family dynamics may have held greater weight in this decision than pure economics but nonetheless its a surprise. My thoughts were that the early toe in the water would be followed by a more firm commitment to sell in the future and certainly I kept a close eye on developments.
The second venue that surprised me was an outside option whose status I am unsure about. This venue is marketed by one of those awful business selling sites that requires the DNA of your first-born before you can ‘join’ and then bombards you with irrelevant garbage, needless to say I have progressed no further than the front page. It was during my search for more information on a premises that is being sold by the owners of 4 years due to “retirement” that I discovered how they had come about the purchase. The pub was last sold via a raffle with tickets costing £20 each and the winner getting the freehold. Fair play to anybody who can take £20 and in just four years have a return on investment that allows them to retire but again I feel there is more to the story.
So what Have I learnt? Well commercially failing post offices can surpass the turnover of a well-loved local pub and that a raffle is a legitimate way of selling a pub. Before you leap to the keyboards to pen me a comment pointing out that the trade is in a dire state and I would have to be mad to buy a pub please remember, as I have said many a time, it is not a choice. Don’t bother scouring the web for the trade news that told us this was the worst New Year in the on trade to date with more people staying at home and even youngsters eschewing alcohol, I have seen it already. Even whilst reading the bad news stories my mind was ruminating on potential extensions for letting rooms. For some there is just no escaping the trade we just adapt to the difficulties and plough on.