Pub spending in England may have increased as a result of the government’s new 10pm curfew, research suggests.
On Thursday 24 September, prime minister Boris Johnson announced all pubs would be forced to close at 10pm in an effort to curb a second wave of coronavirus infections in England — just two months after they were allowed to reopen, following the nationwide lockdown.
Spending in pubs on Friday 25 September was 3% higher than a normal Friday that month, and 4% higher than the previous week — 18 September — when the 10pm curfew hadn’t been announced or imposed, according to analysis of three million Revolut customers’ data.
This bucks the usual trend of pub spending, which traditionally decreases in autumn after the busy trading months in the summer.
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Spending shot up during the peak hours of 9pm to 10pm, as many customers aimed to get a “final round” in before landlords closed their tills. While this is traditionally the most lucrative time for pubs, customers spent about 22% more on Friday and Saturday than they did the previous week.
Closing hours on Thursday 24 September (10%) and Sunday 27 September (9%) also saw significant increases.
Annually, spending was also up. Year-on-year spending for 24 September was up 8%, while 25 September shot up 18%, 26 September was up 19%, and 27 September was up 2%.
Customer also bought bigger rounds in the final hour of trading. They spent about £24.30 on 26 September, compared to £19.09 on a Saturday night earlier in the month, before the curfew was imposed.
Once the pubs had closed, some consumers may have headed straight for the off-licence to continue drinking after the 10pm curfew, the data shows.
While the increase was a minimal 1% on Thursday and Sunday, there was a slightly larger increase in off-licence spending on Friday (4%) and Saturday (2%) as people spilled out of the pubs and continued the party.
This is despite Guardian data, which shows sales at 7,000 outlets dropped 8% following the restrictions.