Tim Martin is blaming ‘people drinking at home’ for UK Wetherspoons closures

The budget pub chain has closed 11 pubs and put 35 more up for sale amid rising bills and inflation

Georgina Pellant Georgina Pellant - 27th January 2023

It’s no secret that times are hard for hospitality right now, with pubs and restaurants shutting left, right and centre – but when UK pub giant Wetherspoons starts closing its doors you have to wonder if anyone can survive in this climate.

In September last year, the budget pub chain began listing sites for sale with 32 boozers going up as part of what it described as a “commercial decision”.

Now, it has listed even more – and arch-Brexiteer Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin is apparently blaming people ‘drinking at home’ for the closures.

After the chain suffered a £30 million pound loss, CEO Tim Martin told PA news agency that people ‘have got into the habit of staying in’ ever since Covid and that that was why sales were down on 2019.

The Waterhouse

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He also blamed lockdown restrictions brought in to stop the spread of Covid during the height of the pandemic for the pub’s losses,

He said: “The aftermath of the pandemic and lockdown restrictions have been far more difficult than anyone thought.


“That is the picture for the whole pub and restaurant industry. People thought that after lockdown there would be a boom in people suffering from cabin fever but, instead, it has almost become the opposite situation as people have got into the habit of staying in.

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“That’s the big thing that means sales are down on 2019. Things are improving now but it’s slow.”


The pub sales are being handled by CBRE and Savills. Toby Hall, senior director at CBRE, said: “The excellent mix of locations in this portfolio is rarely seen in the market.

“With more than half the portfolio located in London and the South East and other strong locations in the South West, Midlands and North we believe the pubs represent an excellent opportunity for existing pub operators and new entrants.”

Which JD Wetherspoon pubs are set for closure?

Pubs which have been sold:

  • Harvest Moon, Orpington
  • Alexander Bain, Wick
  • Chapel an Gansblydhen, Bodmin
  • Moon on the Square, Basildon
  • Coal Orchard, Taunton
  • Running Horse, Airside Doncaster Airport
  • Wild Rose, Bootle
  • Edmund Halley, Lee Green
  • The Willow Grove, Southport
  • Postal Order, Worcester
  • North and South Wales Bank, Wrexham

Pubs still up for sale:

  • The Butlers Bell, Stafford
  • Worlds Inn, Romford
  • Silkstone Inn, Barnsley
  • Wrong ‘Un, Bexleyheath
  • The Percy Shaw, Halifax
  • Jolly Sailor, Hanham
  • The Alfred Herring, Palmers Green
  • The Moon & Bell, Loughborough
  • The Widow Frost, Mansfield
  • Resolution, Middlesbrough
  • Foxley Hatch, Purley
  • The Rising Sun, Redditch
  • Sennockian, Sevenoaks
  • Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis, Southampton
  • The Colombia Press, Watford
  • The Malthouse, Willenhall
  • The John Masefield, New Ferry
  • The Crosse Keys, Peebles
  • Lord Arthur Lee, Fareham
  • The Saltoun Inn, Fraserburgh
  • General Sir Redvers Buller, Crediton
  • Plough & Harrow, Hammersmith
  • Thomas Leaper, Derby
  • Cliftonville, Hove
  • Tollgate, Turnpike Lane
  • Asparagus, Battersea
  • Millers Well, East Ham
  • Hudson Bay, Forest Gate
  • Angel, Islington
  • The Billiard Hall, West Bromwich
  • Capitol, Forest Hill
  • The Bankers Draft, Eltham
  • Moon on the Hill, Harrow
  • The Bank House, Cheltenham
  • Last Post, Loughton