The George shuts its doors

THE landlord of a town centre pub forced to shut has blamed its demise on the smoking ban and discount deals at supermarkets.

The George closed its doors on June 23 and has now gone into voluntary liquidation.

Landlords Geoff and Sheila Baker had previously spent 325,000 on refurbishment but plummeting sales have left the pub's business untenable.

Geoff told the Gazette, "We were not making enough money to pay the bills.

"The smoking ban saw a big reduction in people coming in, once the novelty of having to go outside wore off.

"A lot of peole have said they won't go out to the pub now they can't smoke there.

"I also think people overspent at Christmas and because of the way their finances are at the moment they're very wary about spending a lot when they go out. They start a lot later and drink before they go out.

"The cheap booze from supermarkets has been a problem too. I saw an advert recently with one supermarket selling a case of lager for 10, two cases for 16 and three cases for 20.

"They're doing it as a loss leader but we just can't compete with that."

Geoff revealed the pub had lost 40 per cent of its business due to the smoking ban - and he warned other pubs could go the same way.

He added, "Figures show that 27 pubs a week are closing nationwide. We're just another number."