The rate of pub closures in the UK has increased since the beginning of the year, according to an analyst and consulting group.

CGA Strategy, a market intelligence provider for pubs, has confirmed just-drinks that it believes between 51 and 53 pubs in the UK are now closing each week, equating to 2,750 annually.

The figure is higher than the 40 per week quoted by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) at the beginning of the year. 

A BBPA spokesperson told just-drinks today (15 June): "Our view at the moment is things are bumping along the bottom if anything and with that we unfortunately believe that pubs are still continuing to close."

Without directly corroborating the CGA figure, the spokesperson added: "There is no doubt that we are still seeing very high rates of pub closures. We will be putting together some new figures in the very near future but there is no doubt that that pressure is still very much there."

Punch Taverns today (15 June) announced plans to raise up to GBP350m (US$573m) via share issue, due to concern that, without it, the pub group might not meet debt repayments.

The company said that trading for the first 40 weeks of its fiscal year, to the end of May, remained in-line with its full-year expectations. Like-for-like sales in the group's managed pub portfolio fell by 1.2%, compared to the same period a year earlier, although rose by 1% in the third quarter.

"Results to date reflect the challenging market conditions being faced by the sector. The wider recessionary economic conditions have significantly reduced consumer confidence and impacted the level of disposable income being made available for leisure activities," the company said.