The COVID-19 pandemic has wiped a staggering £80.8bn off hospitality’s sales in just 12 months, the latest edition of the UKHospitality Quarterly Tracker with CGA reveals.
It shows sales from the start of April 2020 to the end of March 2021 totalled £46bn, down by 64% on £126.8bn in the previous 12 months. The drop of £80.8bn is equivalent to around £220m of sales lost every day – or more than £9m every hour.
The devastating fall reflects the waves of national and local lockdowns and severe trading restrictions that the UK’s hospitality businesses have endured since the pandemic began. Many venues have been unable to trade for the majority of the past year, and all restaurants, pubs and bars have been limited to deliveries and takeaways throughout the first quarter of 2021.
The figures show hospitality remains in need of financial support if it is to help lead the UK’s recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. The Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners shows that around 12,000 licensed premises closed in Britain between January 2020 and March 2021. Of those remaining, some sites have been able to reopen for outdoor service since 12 April but the vast majority will not be able to return for several weeks and, even then, will do so under restrictions until at least 21st June.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “It has been a catastrophic year for the sector and we are by no means out of the woods yet. Hospitality’s ability to reopen will remain massively hampered until the Government delivers on its commitment to dropping Covid restrictions and measures on 21st June. Even then, with so many companies facing rent debts and business rates bills, after more than a year with little trading, many companies – and thousands more jobs – will be in jeopardy unless further support is forthcoming, particularly on tackling the rent debt crisis that threatens our recovery.
“Hospitality can help power the national economic recovery, providing jobs to people who have lost them, bring people back together for safe socialising and continue to serve those most in need in communities all over Britain. To do this however, we need to operate without the stranglehold of restrictions, and for the Government to work with the sector on a recovery plan.
“Our sector has suffered around 660,000 job losses in the last year. The increase in unemployment, particularly among younger age groups, underlines the importance of the Government to drop further restrictions on our ability to socialise and do business.”