The UK’s hospitality sector saw sales plummet by 48% in the third quarter of 2020, the latest Quarterly Tracker from UKHospitality and CGA reveals.
It equates to a shortfall of £17bn on the same quarter in 2019. Hospitality’s sales for the 12 months to the end of September totalled £80.3bn, the Tracker shows—£53.2bn less than the £133.5bn that the sector contributed to the UK economy in 2019.
The huge drop in sales comes despite an injection of trade from the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out promotion in August. Since the scheme came to an end, tough local lockdowns and falling consumer confidence have cut into sales again, highlighting the need for extensive financial support while restrictions remain in place.
The figures from UKHospitality and CGA come ahead of the publication of new figures from the Office for National Statistics showing the latest impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the UK economy.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “This is clearly dreadful news and made all the more desperate when combined with the expectation that Christmas will be, for many businesses, very bleak. Regional lockdowns and additional restrictions are also beginning to bite businesses hard. This highlights the need for clarity on the roadmap for businesses in tier 2 and 3 regions. We need some idea of how businesses can plan to move out of the higher tiers, to give themselves a half chance of success. Otherwise, these awful figures are likely to be surpassed in Q4.”
Phil Tate, group CEO of CGA, said: “The Tracker makes plain the seismic impact of COVID-19 and restrictions on hospitality. After sales were all but wiped out in the second quarter, a 48% fall in the third is not the recovery the sector was hoping for, in spite of the temporary boost from Eat Out to Help Out. Hospitality’s sales are inextricably tied to government restrictions on trading and socialising, and every new measure deals another blow to operators and the supply chain. Businesses have responded to the pandemic with resilience and innovation, but they need proper, sustained support over what is going to be an extremely challenging winter.”