According to the December 2015 edition of the Market Growth Monitor from AlixPartners and CGA Peach, nearly two in three British towns have seen their numbers of pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs either rise or stay the same in the last year. 

There are now 236 British towns with more than 100 licensed premises.  Britain’s total number of licensed premises stood at a little over 124,000 as of September, which is equivalent to 758 new sites nationwide when compared to September 2014. 

The growth is fuelled by the expansion of casual dining restaurants, with more than four out of five towns – 203 out of 236 – increasing their number of food-led licensed premises over the year.

Top of the leaderboard are Solihull and Southport, where the number of licensed premises went up by 4.1% over the last 12 months.  Taunton, Worthing, Cheltenham and Stockton-on-Tees all grew their numbers by at least 3%. 

It has been particularly refreshing to note that growth has not just been restricted to, or dominated by, the M25 corridor. 

Glovers has first-hand experience of this positive trend, having been instructed in the past 12 months to advise on new restaurant openings in all of the top 5 big towns which have been identified as the nation’s “boom towns”.

However, the upward trend is not universal. A number of large towns have seen a decrease in the number of licensed premises in the last five years, with the north of England particularly affected.  Burton-on-Trent, Oldham and Rotherham each recorded negative year-on-year changes of over 3% in the number of their licensed premises.

There is also some concern that, after a hectic year of new openings, supply will start to outstrip demand in parts of Britain.  It therefore remains to be seen whether the growth spurt can be maintained.  While the industry is mindful of capacity and saturation, the continued expansion of the restaurant sector has been welcomed with open arms – not least because consumers in towns of all sizes have seen their eating out-options rise.  

For further information, please contact Philip Mundy on