Tuesday, 30 June 2015

JD Wetherspoon Place 20 Pubs on the Market

A short article published in today’s Morning Advertiser, reports that J D Wetherspoon have placed 20 of their pubs on the market. The pubs concerned are all leasehold properties which, whilst mainly situated in London and the south, also include a handful in the Midlands, plus one in Scotland.
The sale is being handled by CBRE, who claim to be “the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm”, and the properties are being considered for sale individually, in small packages or as a group. I have not, so far, seen an explanation as to why Wetherspoon’s are disposing of these outlets, although no doubt the company will issue a statement in the next few days.

Sennockian - Sevenoaks
One of these pubs, the Sennockian, is in nearby Sevenoaks. I am not familiar with any of the other pubs, but obviously know the Sennockian quite well. The pub is a shop conversion of what was previously a furniture shop. It is not one of Wetherspoon’s bigger outlets, but whilst it always seemed reasonably busy, I don’t think I have ever seen it heaving.

It will be a shame to see it go though as the Sennockian is definitely a cut above some other Spoon’s outlets; hardly surprising given its situation in one of the most affluent and upmarket towns in the south-east. It has also been quite innovative in its time, with several successful “meet the brewer” evenings, along with a number of “tap takeovers”.

My thoughts are with the staff of all these JDW outlets, who must obviously be concerned about their job security and future prospects.

Full details of the 20 pubs on the list can be found by clicking on this link to the Morning Advertiser.


BryanB said...

From the MA: "opportunities are in scare reply"

WTF? Have they got a voice-recognising robot 'writing' their news items?!

Neville Grundy said...

I don't know any of those pubs. It's not the first time JDW has sold pubs, but I don't recall a bulk sale of this size previously. Another change in the JDW estate recently has been the conversion of some Lloyds No 1 bars to Wetherspoons pubs; this happened to our former Lloyds here in Southport..

Paul Bailey said...

Think you could be right, BryanB. Perhaps they've taken a leaf out of the Grauniad School of journalism!

I've never been quite sure Nev, where exactly the Lloyds No. 1 outlets fit into the overall scheme of things within the Wetherspoon empire. For example the excellent Muggleton Inn in Maidstone is housed in an imposing old Victorian former insurance building, but is a Lloyds outlet. The modern and contemporary County Rooms, in the same town, is styled as a normal Wetherspoons. Confused or what?

Curmudgeon said...

Never actually been to Sevenoaks town centre, but I would have thought it had both the population and the spending power to support a Spoons. Is it one of those places that tends to be dead in the evening?

I have visited the Spoons in Tunbridge Wells which seemed to be doing pretty well.

Paul Bailey said...

Sevenoaks is quite lively in the evening, Mudge, although the majority of people out and about tend to be slightly more mature (both in age and intellect!). There probably isn’t a huge “yoof” market in the town, which may explain why the Sennockian is on Wetherspoon’s disposal list.

Not unexpectedly, there is a perception of an air of snobbishness about the town, with the local caricatures of Mr & Mrs Superior of Sevenoaks not entirely without foundation. My son works in a shop in the town and has witnessed this sort of behaviour in action. It’s also worth remembering the opposition there was, at the time, to Spoons opening in the town. Also, Sevenoaks is the town which successfully fought to have a McDonalds’ outlet closed, and was up in arms against Lidl opening a store!