Pub retailers should concentrate on the segmentation of their offering if they are to survive a recession, according to a leading futurist and industry consultant. Speaking at M&C Report’s Future of Pub Retailing (FOPR) 2008, held today at the Andaz Hotel in London, Paul Flatters, the chief executive of Trajectory, said that the consumer suffers for a longer period than the official timescale of a recession. But he said the pub sector could survive any upcoming recession by capitalising on the “sod it” factor of discretionary spending and by making sure its offer was “time valuable” for busy, stressed-out workers. By cutting out generality from an offering - by targeting cash rich 20-somethings that still live at home for example – a pub operator could benefit from a recession, added Flatters. The chief executive of Trajectory told delegates: “It’s not, by any means, going to be a universally grim future out there.” He argued that consumers were slow to realise that a recession was upon them – and only start to cut back once the economic downturn was definitely underway. “The recession may have ended, but the consumer is still in it,” said Flatters, who previously worked at The Future Foundation and has advised on projects for Coors, Scottish & Newcastle and Whitbread. He said that although the last recession ended in the third quarter of 1992, businesses were still waiting for consumer confidence to return as late as 1995. Flatters also argued that pub operators should realise that they are up against other leisure opportunities when it come to the consumer and the spending of its ‘leisure pound’.