Nearly Half of U.K. Clubs Said to Have Shuttered Over the Last Decade
Almost half of all nightclubs in the United Kingdom have closed in the past ten years, according to a report by BBC Newsbeat.
Quoting figures from The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), which represents approximately 20,000 pub, bar, nightclub and restaurant outlets and 180 member companies in the U.K., Newsbeat highlights a 45 percent drop from 3,144 clubs in 2005 to 1,733 in 2015.
Speaking to BBC, the trade organization -- which categorizes a night club as a late night entertainment venue predominantly for music and dancing -- says that the closures will leave the U.K. worse off "culturally, socially and economically." According to ALMR, £15 million ($23.4 million) is spent in British nightclubs each year, with its members generating 37,000 new jobs in 2014, over 80 percent of which were for 18-24 year-olds.
Tighter planning and licensing legislation, 2007’s indoor smoking ban, the economic downturn and later pub opening hours are all cited as contributing factors behind the declining popularity of clubbing. In 2011, Britain’s largest nightclub operator The Luminar Group went into administration with debts of £140 million ($218 million).
It was subsequently bought by a consortium of leisure industry specialists, led by Peter Marks, and after a successful turnaround re-branded as The Deltic Group earlier this year. The change of name has coincided with the company’s expansion into the late-night bar business, although standalone nightclubs (located primarily on U.K. high streets) do still account for a significant proportion of its revenues, which topped £90 million ($140 million) in the most recent financial year.
Meanwhile, world renowned U.K. clubs such as Ministry of Sound and Fabric (both in London), Nation (in Liverpool), Sub Club (Glasgow) and Sankeys (Manchester), among numerous others, continue to do brisk weekly trade, while top-of-the-bill festival performances from EDM acts like Calvin Harris, Rudimental and Disclosure illustrate the still huge demand for dance music among the British public.
"I don't think the number of people going clubbing at the weekend is any different to where it was 20 years ago, but I do think they are going to different places," Ministry of Sound chief executive Lohan Presencer told Newsbeat. "People are finding different ways and different places to go out."