Liberation Group buys 21 UK pubs

A JERSEY-based pub chain is buying 21 UK pubs from a Wiltshire brewery.

Trade at the Liberation Group’s rural pubs has ‘carried on OK’ Picture: JON GUEGAN. (29615459)
Trade at the Liberation Group’s rural pubs has ‘carried on OK’ Picture: JON GUEGAN. (29615459)

Liberation Group’s expansion in the UK comes as it said that it had performed well this year despite challenges caused by Covid-19.

The group has its headquarters in the Royal Square but is owned by a UK investment firm. A spokesperson said that although the Island’s tourism industry had slumped during the pandemic, the increase in staycations had helped the business to return to a strong position following lockdown.

Jonathan Lawson, the group’s chief executive, said: ‘I think it is right to say that in both our south-west and Channel Island locations we have had an environmental [weather] benefit. That has definitely helped us. What I mean by that is that we have been able to benefit from people taking staycations in both of those markets.

‘I also think Jersey’s government has done a pretty good job. I think they consulted quite clearly, listened and acted on our feedback. One challenge which we laid out at the UK government was that they did not consult enough and when they did, they did not listen enough.’

Mr Lawson added that alongside buying 21 pubs in the UK, it was also continuing to invest in its Jersey pubs and was currently spending ‘hundreds of thousands’ remodelling the Five Oaks Eating House.

However, he added that the business’s central St Helier outlets had been adversely affected by the crisis.

‘I think there have been two behavioural impacts as a result of the pandemic. One is the impact that the lack of tourism has had on our locations in St Helier but our rural pubs have carried on OK,’ he said.

‘In our St Helier locations there has also been a reduction in footfall and we have definitely noticed the impact of that on our business.

‘What has compounded that is the lower worker footfall so that has had a double effect on those town sites.’

The purchase of the 21 Wadworth pubs was made through Liberation’s UK subsidiary, Butcombe, which already has 39 outlets in England.

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