Londoners could partake of a bargain-boozy shopping trip on Tuesday as some pubs resorted to selling beer for 99p and collapsed department store Debenhams launched a closing down sale.
More than a thousand drinking houses in London and the South East prepared to close for the foreseeable future at the end of Tuesday night due as the capital is moved into tighter tier-three coronavirus restrictions.
JD Wetherspoon PLC (LON:JDW) launched a firesale of the real ale in all its pubs that are being moved under the new measures.
The FTSE 250-listed company said it was selling off the beer rather than have to pour it down the drain, as real ale has a more limited shelf life than lager.
The British Beer & Pub Association said London going into tier-three will result in 1,250 pubs who remained open in tier-two to close, putting nearly 8,000 more sector jobs at risk.
In total, 56,000 sector jobs are now at risk in London, the pub sector body warned.
“It is not fair that pubs in London and other parts of England receive four times less financial support than pubs in Wales,” said British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin. “Particularly as pubs in London are the most expensive to run.”
“How can any sane individual justify keeping Central London retail open when hospitality has to shut,” said Stonegate pubs boss Ian Payne on Twitter. “We have all seen the crowds in Oxford St at the weekend. This is sheer madness.”
Meanwhile, Debenhams, which went into liquidation on at the start of the month, was offering 80% off the price of some items in what is said was a closing-down sale as administrators look to get rid of its remaining pile of stock.
“Debenhams will continue to trade through its 124 UK stores and online to clear its current and contracted stocks,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group PLC (LON:FRAS) has expressed interest, although an offer has not yet been made.