The extent that the hotel, pub and care sector have been hit by the economic downturn, was revealed by Christie + Co 's Business Outlook 2009 last night.

The leisure specialist said values in the hotel sector reduced by 18.36% during 2008, whilst the pub and restaurant sectors witnessed declines of 11.63% and 14.92% respectively. The care sector reported a negative value movement of 16.89%. But despite the value decline Christie + Co was more positive about trading levels across the sectors.

David Rugg, chairman of Christie + Co, said: ‘We are still seeing a consistent volume of buyers registering on our website and viewing businesses. In fact we arranged more viewings by more viewers in 2008 as against 2007. The number of businesses for sale is stable and constant. It is the lack of cash, and with it a lack of certainty, that has slowed the market confidence of both buyer and seller.

‘Vendors continue to be motivated to sell for a variety of reasons — retirement, death, changes in personal circumstances, or financial need — and buyer enthusiasm, both yield driven and opportunistic, still exists.

‘Although many first time buyers have been deterred by the economic uncertainty, our transactional activity confirms that there are still new entrants to our markets, seeking to control their own investments and careers, as well as the experienced operators who possess sufficient confidence and knowledge to expand.’

Rugg said the challenge in 2009 would be matching vendor expectations with those of funded buyers.


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