Shock as popular Wigan area pub-restaurant is put up for sale
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The White Lion at Wrightington is one of 61 hostelries that Marston’s Brewery has this week said it wants to sell off.
The group, which runs more than 1,400 pubs across the UK, has put what it calls its “non-core” venues up for sale following a review of its estate.
They are being marketed by Christie and Co under the name “Project Aramis” and are a mix of leased, tenanted, retail and managed pubs. They are all available to purchase individually, in small groups or in one package.
The news has come as a shock to locals.
One told Wigan Today: “As far as I can see the White Lion is a thriving place, always doing well as far as food and drink is concerned.
"It’s also at the heart of the Wrightington community. I can’t see why Marston’s would want to get rid.”
Another said: “They have done a lot to attract custom to the White Lion over the years, not least establishing an excellent heated beer garden and outdoor eating area which kept things going during the dark days of lockdown and is still popular now.
"I sincerely hope they can find a buyer.”
Marston’s has become the latest pub chain to put a number of its sites up for sale.
It follows D Wetherspoon and Stonegate who made similar announcements last year.
The move came as a surprise, as in a trading update in January Marston’s said sales had risen 12.9 per cent across the festive period compared to 2022. It added that the firm was aiming to reach £1bn in sales and reduce its debt below £1bn.
JD Wetherspoon announced it was looking to sell around 45 pubs at the end of last year, with group chairman Tim Martin warning pubs were struggling to attract customers back after they had become accustomed to buying cheaper supermarket booze during lockdown.
Stonegate, the UK’s biggest pub company, are also looking to offload sites after reportedly putting around 1,000 venues on the market in January for a reported £800m.
Noel Moffitt, senior director of corporate pubs and restaurants at Christie and Co, said: "The pub sector has been very resilient over the last few years and has adapted well to the challenges and despite interest in the sector there is a lack of properties on the market.
"This portfolio offers new entrants and existing operators a wonderful opportunity to acquire investments or operate their own businesses."