Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Enterprisingly Punched !

Many is the time I wander through the internet on the hunt for interesting snippets about our pubcos. You know who they are, especially the big 2! They are the ones that complained to the government that by allowing some pubs to smoke it would create an unlevel playing field and that as they were the biggest two in the land they demanded a level playing field.
So, you see, we can thank Punch & Enterprise for the situation we have now with in excess of 6,000 venues closed and more going on a weekly basis!
What did they mean by a level playing field? Did they mean that they thought smoking pubs would thrive whilst those turning to food orientated pubs would suffer? If so, then by their own violition they know that smokers equals revenue.
Did they think that by creating a level playing field all pubs would then be equal? Surely not for landlocked pubs stood no chance of survival if smokers were cast outside. People do not want to walk past hoards of smokers on a street corner, or anywhere else for that matter, just because they can't smoke inside. likewise, smokers do not want to stand outside on cold, wet, miserable nights for a fag-hence they stayed at home and pubs suffered greatly!
Whatever their reasons for wanting a total ban, their reasoning has come back to haunt them, or to put it more succinctly:- bite them on the arse bigtime!
Punch & Enterprise both welcomed the total ban but are probably now ruing the day they made such a decision. Pub after pub closes through lack of business. Deals are being done with property developers as one great institution after another is reduced to rubble and then becomes a block of flats etc.
Share prices plummet and show no signs of recovery, dramatic or otherwise and the pubcos fight tooth and nail to stave of bankruptcy-for the interest repayments on borrowings are colossal.
Tenants are squeezed for every penny that can be wrought from them-and a good percentage of them cannot make a living anymore; but they are trapped in financial web of possible misrepresentations and contracts.
Which brings me nicely to the point of todays offering. My good friend Inez Ward has posted the following on her facebook page:-

Inez Ward Calling all Punch tenants, need your help please! Can you please email your current product price lists to Apparently Punch have said that prices have only risen by 1% and this may not be quite factually correct across the estate. It would appear that the Sun want to know the truth and that can only be a good thing

Now, knowing inez as I do, there is no way she would post such a request unless she was certain of her facts therefore I can only conclude that Punch Taverns are telling 'porkies' in order to keep face. Further to that thought, what have The Sun newspaper found out that warrants them to start snooping around? are they about to uncover another can of worms that the pubcos don't want opening/exposing? With Inez urging all tenants to contact The Sun I fully expect that a can of worms may well be opened and that Punch may well be in for a rough ride.
But do I care? Not a jot for a friend of mine invested a lot of money when taking his pub on 4 years ago: the business was valued at £120,000 at the time-which he happily ploughed in and Punch gobbled up. Last week his 'business' was valued at "you might get £80,000 if you're lucky"! So he's £40,000 out of pocket thanks to Punch wanting a total ban (level playing field), can't afford to sell the 'business' and can't really afford to stay open full time. What sort of situation is that? All his staff have been released to other possible employments and his wife is now the pitifully paid cleaner!
Watching another blog I read that enterprise are trying to sell pubs that are not fit for purpose! Apparently they are suffering from what is known in the trade as 'delaps'; ie, the property is so run down that it is classed as delapidated, yet they have already charged previous tenants for the required work-which still has not been done.
It would seem from all the above that there are dark and devious goings on behind closed pubco doors and I, for one, echo the call sounded by my friend Inez.
Expose these bastards for what they are and for what they have done to our Great british pubs!

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