The latest edition of the UKHospitality and CGA Quarterly Tracker reveals a staggering 54% drop in sales in 2020 for an industry that, in normal times, employs over three million people and contributes many billions of pounds in tax to the Treasury. Sales collapsed from £133.5bn in 2019 to £61.7bn in 2020.
The stark figures highlight hospitality’s ongoing need for specific financial support from Government in order to survive the crisis and play its part in economic recovery. Recent CGA research indicates that around 6,000 licensed premises in Britain closed permanently in 2020, and with severe restrictions likely to remain in place for months, aid is urgently needed to prevent thousands more business failures.
Strict local and national restrictions on trading and socialising caused a particularly damaging drop in trade in the final quarter of the year, the Tracker shows. Sales from October to December 2020 were worth just £14.3bn—down by £18.7bn or 57% on the last quarter of 2019.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “These figures are simply devastating; hospitality was hit first, hit hardest and continues to suffer because of pandemic restrictions brought in. And sitting behind this massive loss of revenue is the dreadful, real impact on people’s lives and livelihoods across all parts of the sector and supply chain. It is also yet another stark reminder of the importance of having an exit strategy from the current lockdown and providing ongoing support for sector businesses.
“Hospitality can and will bounce back and it’s in the interests of the Government to support a sector that, in normal times, contributes many billions of pounds in tax to the Treasury and employs over three million people. We need the Chancellor to step up again in his forthcoming Budget to deliver a bold, wide-ranging package of financial support that ensures as many businesses and jobs as possible are saved and the sector returns to growth. An extension of the VAT cut and business rates holiday must be top of the menu.”
Phil Tate, group chief executive of CGA, said: “This is the clearest evidence yet of the shattering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s hospitality industry. With every week of restrictions, the sector loses more than a billion pounds of sales, hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs. Widespread closures over December, the busiest time of year for so many restaurants, pubs and bars, were a devastating final blow in a year of unprecedented challenges.
Hospitality has responded to the pandemic with courage and innovation. Businesses have worked tirelessly to protect jobs, to support local communities and, when they are able to trade, to keep people safe. With a vaccine rollout underway there is at least some light at the end of the tunnel, and this sector is well placed to help recharge the UK economy as 2021 goes on. But it will only be able to do so if it gets the extensive support that is now desperately needed to sustain it over the next few months.”
The UKHospitality Quarterly Tracker is compiled by CGA and based on its Trading Index and OPM data on food and drink sales across the on-trade. It is combined with hotel data supplied by STR, fast food market data supplied by NPD Group’s Crest Panel, and direct company contributions. It is complemented with ONS statistics.