Supplementary written evidence submitted
by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR)|
Following the oral evidence session held on 7 July
as part of the above inquiry, the ALMR has been asked to
provide further information on the content, coverage and dissemination
of its Benchmarking Survey results. We are pleased to do so and
should be happy to meet to discuss the findings in more detail
The ALMR's Benchmarking Survey is now
in its fifth year and provides an annual assessment of common
operating costs incurred at a site level, as well as valuable
information on business performance and the composition of the
market. Information is collected from individual and multiple
lessees but is always presented at individual outlet, not company
The survey was initially designed to assist operators
in the management of their own business - how well were they performing
in comparison to the rest of the market, how good are they at
controlling their costs. It was also designed to assist them in
making commercial decisions about their style of operation - if
they wanted to provide more food, what impact would this have
on their investment and cost levels. In designing the survey we
were also keen to use it as a vehicle to collect data needed to
inform the ALMR's campaigning activities and information
which is of value to government and other external stakeholders.
The Benchmarking Survey results are used in submissions on live
music regulation, gaming machine taxation and National Minimum
The data is therefore collected for a variety of
purposes and has many uses over and above its role in rental calculation
and valuation purposes. The data therefore not only has a cost
to the ALMR, it has a value to the organisation.
The Committee asked for information on how much it
cost to produce the Survey on an annual basis. The 2011 survey
cost us £5,000 to run and publish. The average production
cost over the five year history of the survey has been £6,100.
These costs may rise if companies and other parties wish to see
the information presented differently or to accommodate suggestions
of banding according to turnover.
At the present point in time, the Association does
not have sufficient resources to fund this and make the full results
freely available. For this reason, we make a nominal charge to
cover costs for a copy of the full report. This was precisely
why we made the offer to the predecessor Committee in December
2009 to gift the survey. This would have seen all parties funding
the collection, collation and interpretation of data and enabled
wider dissemination. Unfortunately, preliminary discussions with
RICS and others, as well as an initial approach to BBPA suggested
that this would not be feasible. If the ALMR had not continued
to underwrite and bear the costs, the survey would not have been
maintained going forward.
We understand that there has been some discussion
about how the results of the ALMR Benchmarking Survey are
made available to individual lessees and how this could be improved.
A full copy of the survey is made available free
of charge to all lessees who participate in the exercise. This
is used to encourage and reward participation and is common practice
with other industry surveys. A copy of the headline results and
the key charts is also made freely available through the ALMR
website. The information which is freely available has been enhanced
as part of this survey round and we believe provides a sufficient
level of detail for a benchmark comparison to be made. We make
available free of charge the information we believe of benefit
to the majority of individual lessees and will continue to look
at ways in which this can be improved. I have attached a copy
of the information which is freely available through our website.
We have offered to have discussions with BII and
BBPA as to how this information can be disseminated through their
publications and members, but this has been inconclusive.
To date, the ALMR has restricted publication
of the full results to those paying for them. This is in part
to recoup some of the costs of publication but also because few
individual lessees will want to receive the detailed breakdown
of information the full report provides. The detailed charts and
tables are invaluable for those making a rental valuation and
the professionals who would be advising the lessee in rent review
negotiations. In our experience, access to the detailed information
by BDMs trade valuers and professional advisers is far more important
than access for individual lessees. It is this which remains a
key point of concern.
In view of the fact that the information has a value
to the Association as well as a production cost, we charge a nominal
amount to non-participants - currently £20 for individual
lessees and ALMR members and £50 for non-member operators
- and £100 for landlords, industry analysts, commentators
and other organisations such as law firms, banks. This cost only
applies to those who want and can make use of a copy of the full
60 page report and detailed tables. We repeat that we believe
that the information currently made freely available is sufficient
for everyday comparison and benchmarking use by individual lessees.
This is a small cost and one which we are committed
to reducing where possible. It should be viewed in context of
the level of information which is freely and readily available
and the use to which an individual lessee, as opposed to their
professional adviser, may put it.
Our intention is to continue to improve the collection
and dissemination of information in this area. We are currently
in discussion with a number of commercial parties to explore how
we could work with them to underwrite the costs.
In addition, we have recently had a meeting with
Punch Taverns to discuss the survey and how best to work with
them to disseminate the results amongst their BDMs and lessees.
They have expressed strong support for an independent or lessee
produced database on operating costs and we are actively exploring
ways in which they could provide a degree of funding to assist
in dissemination. For example, they could pay a one off fee on
behalf of all their lessees.
We are hoping to have similar discussions with other
pub companies and centrally with BBPA and will keep the Committee
updated on any material developments.
We should be happy to provide any additional information
on any aspect of the survey and our work.
Strategic Affairs Director
31 July 2011
5 http://www.almr.org.uk/hotpdfs/143.pdf Back