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According to the latest data from the Lumina Intelligence Operator Data Index, the top 10 pub groups by outlets are expected to see +7.0% growth with further consolidation in the pub market.

Of the top 10 pub groups, Stonegate is forecast to remain the largest estate by the end of 2021, with just over 4,700 pubs, 60% bigger than the second largest pub group, Star Pubs & Bars.

Admiral is forecast to see outlet growth of 71% (+674 outlets) by the end of 2021, following its acquisition of Hawthorn.

Despite pent-up consumer demand driving sales post-lockdown, overall turnover among the top 10 pub groups is expected to decline in FY2020/2021 – down -54% versus 2020. This follows a sharp decline between 2019 and 2020, with the overall 2021 forecast of £3bn turnover significantly lower than the £9bn turnover recorded in 2019.

Looking forward, the report indicates that the use of technology and delivery services remain key to sales.

According to the report, technological innovations remain vital to the pub sector, to improve the consumer experience, especially during ordering. The benefits of digital technology have shifted from minimising contact, to speed, convenience, and the ability to track orders in venues.

Greene King has reported app usage accounted for 70% of orders taken, and Mitchells & Butlers noted trends of higher spend per head, premiumisation, and trading up.

Senior Insight Manager at Lumina Intelligence, Katherine Prowse, said, “The volatility of the market has allowed pub groups to review current strategies and restructure. Unsurprisingly, the impact of the pandemic saw the majority of the leading pub groups rationalise their estates. However, with merger and acquisition activity increasing, we expect many to grow their estates by the end of the year.”

“Despite pent up consumer demand driving sales post lockdown, turnover amongst the leading pub groups is not expected to recover to pre coronavirus levels by the end of the year. Delivery and tech will be key to driving future growth. Consumers want to continue the benefits that tech and delivery offers from a speed and convenience perspective.”

(source: Lumina Intelligence, image: pexels)