Friday, 6 May 2011

Wetherspoons Success Story?

The latest figures from Wetherspoon are pretty good as usual. Turnover up in a difficult market, further expansion planned. Not really newsworthy; it's what we expect from them. One small fact interested me though. Two pubs closed in the last six months, three in the previous year.

If you're like me you've no doubt presumed that a Wetherspoon pub is guaranteed to succeed. They come in, offer good value food and drink, the existing pubs raise the white flag and ker-ching! Delving a little deeper I've found that over 90 Wetherspoon pubs have been closed, demolished or sold. Even deducting some airport bars that were lost due to re-development it still leaves about 80 pubs that were not viable. What I found strange is that the vast majority of failed 'Spoons were in Greater London, just the area where the cheap beer/food model just have had the greatest effect.
I personally know of one Wetherspoon that failed, in Neston, Wirral. Not all that surprising really. It's a Royston Vasey-like community with  a dislike of outsiders where the middle aged men (and women) still like a gallon of ale and a fight. What about the other closures? I'd like to find out.


  1. Quite a lot of the ones in Greater London will have closed because Spoons got bigger and better premises nearby. But their site selection, while generally pretty good, isn't infallible.

    One that had a short life in this area was the Edwin Chadwick in Longsight, Manchester, where they seem to have seriously underestimated just how *rough* the area was. Apparently Tim Martin paid a personal visit, took one look and said "get rid of it!"

    I don't know it personally, but the closure of the Red Lyon in Whitchurch, Shropshire may seem a bit surprising in view of Spoons having expressed the intention to expand into more market towns.

  2. Any big business will get some of its decisions wrong, but most, as Mudgie says, will have moved on to bigger premises.

  3. The Neston 'Spoons was certainly rough. It's even rougher since they sold it.

  4. http://www.railuk.info/spoons/former_search.php

    "Former Wetherspoon Pubs 96 pubs were found"

    George & Dragon, Tyldesley closed due to "low profits"
    Pub later burnt down in an arson attack forcing demolition.