WELCOME to The Leisure Industry 2012. For the past 15 years, Sanderson Weatherall has been proud to sponsor The Journal's Leisure Industry Annual Review supplement and what an interesting time it's been!
With so many changes and innovations across the leisure sector in general, not forgetting the dramatic rise of the internet and gaming culture, we have witnessed a significant change in the way bars run and operate, particularly following the Licensing Act 2003, and have charted the ebbs and flows of the local market closely.
Who would have thought 15 years ago that Collingwood Street and Mosley Street would today be the prime leisure pitch and that there would be a fully enclosed leisure complex in the city centre at The Gate?
We wanted to take this opportunity to take a retrospective look at the market to see if our predictions over the years had come to fruition (thankfully, we are pleased to say we got most things right).
Looking back to 1997, one of the key topics was the proposed changes to the licensing process and potential 24-hour operations.
Our opinion at the time was that the feared ‘24-hour drinking culture’ would never materialise and thankfully that has been the case.
Instead, we have seen trading hours extend modestly, partially due to the chameleon nature of many of the city centre bars and restaurants, trading successfully through the day under one style and converting to something different in the evening.
Also in 1997, we said that flexibility in trading styles and the ability to change rapidly to meet the shifting demands of the customer were essential to the survival of bars.
In 2012, that remains the case, with outlets constantly rebranding and changing to satisfy the ever evolving market.
At the turn of the millennium, we were looking at how operators were expanding into new markets and in particular we started to chart the success of the area around Newcastle’s Life Science Centre.
Popular with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community, this area of the city has since firmly found its following and has become a thriving nightlife circuit in its own right.