The number of businesses falling into administration in the licensed trade increased by more than one quarter between Q2 and Q3 2011, according to new down-beat figures from the Insolvency Service. The number of pub and bar operators going into administration more than doubled, from six to 13, although there was one fewer administration among restaurant operators in the quarter (13). Across the licensed trade, excluding hotels, administrations went from 23 in Q2 to 31 in Q3. Year-on-year comparatives were also bleak for the industry, with 27 administrations in Q3 2010. There was also a rise in compulsory liquidations in the industry, with 68 in Q3 against 44 in the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the number of company voluntary agreements in the sector fell from 14 to seven between Q2 and Q3 2011. Peter Cooper, partner at Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery LLP, said: “The latest insolvency statistics for the hotel and licensed sectors support our previous predictions. Challenging trading conditions have translated into a significant number of bar, nightclub, restaurant and hotel insolvencies in Q3, with wet led pubs and bars being particularly badly hit. As expected, there is some regional variation with the London markets holding up better than the provinces. “As Christmas approaches and the prospects for a full scale economic recovery become less certain, the key issues for the sector will continue to centre around consumer confidence and spending power, restricted working capital availability and, as a consequence, the threat that businesses will not be able to absorb the impact of unforeseen events such as adverse weather. This may well lead to a greater number of insolvencies in Q4 2011 and Q1 2012.”

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