Punch Taverns, backers of the smoke ban and a supposedly level playing field (pardon?) have fallen on their own sword yet again as it is today announced that 300 of their pubs are now up for sale with Christie + Co, "many at revised prices, to stimulate interest and secure buyers.” Revised prices? Well upon my soul!
"and most are available with vacant possession."
Vacant possession? Well upon my soul!
It would seem that Mr Thorleys masterplan of a level playing field, whilst simultaneously sucking up to this government is backfiring dramatically. Is it any wonder that " most are available with vacant possession" when more than 4,000 pubs have now gone forever thanks to the smoke ban. Who in God's name would contemplate financial suicide by buying a 'vacant pub'?
It's vacant because it couldn't make any money.
It's vacant because the previous licensee probably went skint.
It's vacant because smokers have said 'up yours Thorley'.
A Punch spokesperson said: “Some of these sites have already been on the market but they are being relaunched....."
err....they are being relaunched because no-one has had the stupidity to purchase any of them from the once proud Punch empire. I say once proud empire because pre ban their shares were sitting at £13.79. On the 18th Sept, 2009 they rocked precariously at £1.24 having bottomed out at £0.38p in March 09!
To say that Giles Thorley should have been captain of the Titanic is no understatement as he has steered Punch Taverns into the iceberg known as financial oblivion.
'Clean air pubs' mean absolutely nothing when they are virtually empty.
'Clean air pubs' mean even less when most of the customers sally forth to the nearest supermarket for cheapo beers.
'Clean air pubs' means sweet sod all when nearly 100,000 employees are now jobless within the hospitality sector.
It would also seem that Punch have reduced their own 'national debt' from £4.5bn to £3.5bn-but how are they to achieve the latter debt payments when they are already reducing property prices - as they hadn't sold in the first place?
Has it not occurred to the business genius known as Giles Thorley that perhaps admitting he was WRONG might be the best course of action and start campaigning for choice - that way he might actually salvage half his remaining 'empire'.
There you go Giles, a simple man on the street has just saved your crumbling empire!