​Pryzm boss blames “young people drinking less” as reason for closures

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Rekom, the UK’s biggest nightclub operator and owners of club brands including Pryzm and ATIK, have blamed “young people drinking less” as a reason for its recent closures.

Chief Executive of Rekom Peter Marks told the BBC that hard-up students are going out less than ever before, pinning it on the cost of living crisis and skyrocketing rent prices.

Last month, Rekom filed for administrators citing an “extremely difficult” year amid a “challenging time for the industry“. The club brand was forced to close 17 of its 43 venues and let go of almost 500 staff as part of a restructuring.

Marks tells the BBC that the UK has seen a fall in students going out in recent times, arguing that the cost of living is “singularly the biggest issue that we face”.

Read this next: UK’s biggest nightclub operator calls in administrators and financial difficulty

“A lot of students who used to be paying, say, £800 a month for their accommodation, have been facing [higher rents of] £1,200 a month,” he explains. “Obviously people still like coming out, [but] if money is tight [they] are coming later, so they’re arriving at our doors later and they’re spending less.”

He adds: “I walked around between 7pm and 11pm, and there were no more than 200 people out in the city. Two years before, it would have been really quite busy and buzzing.”

Marks went on to explain that the club chain was faced with rising overheads such as rent and bills, as well as staffing costs to stay in line with the National Living Wage.

“For every £100 pounds we take, we are spending between £30 and £40 on wages,” he tells the BBC. “We’ve had businesses that used to make £500,000 then go on to lose £400,000. Just in the two-year period.”

Read this next: Protestors hold “sit-in rave” at shuttered Dartford nightclub ATIK

According to a recent report from NUS, 69% of students work part-time on top of their studies, with 34% of those saying it has a “somewhat negative impact” on their studies.

“65% of students who work are working more than they did last year. This means that, between full-time study and part-time work, many can’t socialise at all,” NUS’ Chloe Field tells the BBC.

“62% of those working say they do to afford to eat and pay bills, which tells you all you need to know about the failure of the current education system to keep pace with inflation.”

Rekom’s recent axes are amongst hundreds of club closures since the pandemic began. A new NTIA report reveals an enormous 396 clubs have been shuttered since 2020. In 2023, England, Wales, and Scotland lost 4% of its nightclubs and saw a 9% decrease in visitors.

Find a list of resources and help during the cost of living crisis here.

[Via the BBC]

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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