We recently released our third quarterly overview of the key retail trends in the Scottish on-trade, covering the important Christmas period. The survey revealed a major factor worrying respondents is government drink-driving and living wage legislation, with 67% naming this as the biggest macro-economic challenge their businesses face. Paul Waterson, SLTA chief executive, said he was worried about the effect of legislation on remote venues. He said: “SLTA research indicates these outlets are being hit hardest by new legislation, with over 40% showing a decline in Christmas business and, worryingly, only 16% of these outlets expect to show any growth in 2016.” Waterson added many village pubs were integral to the communities they serve and a key driver for Scottish tourism. He said: “The declines shown in our survey will inevitably lead to further closures and a negative impact on jobs and amenities in rural areas.” However, the report revealed 77% of outlets with accommodation either grew room occupancy or remained stable over the festive period, while outlets serving food also performed significantly better, with 53% in growth for the period compared with the calendar year. The report also highlighted a growing number of retailers were tailoring their offers to suit emerging trends. Waterson said the majority of retailers had “recognised the importance in the growth of craft beer and this is still an opportunity for the 30%-plus of retailers who don’t stock these products”. The survey is based on quantitative research from 600 retailers in Scotland, more than 10% of the country’s on-trade, ranging from outlets in remote tourist locations to multi-site gastro-pubs and city centre bars.
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