Britain’s number of licensed premises has fallen by nearly a thousand between July, when the market fully reopened, and September 2021, the new Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners reveals.
The closure of 980 sites - an average of 16 a day - shows that the hospitality industry remains under severe pressure from the effects of Covid and a range of operational challenges including labour shortages, disruption to supply and rising costs.
The report warns more business failures are possible before the end of 2021 if these significant trading challenges are not addressed.
According to the report, small businesses have borne the brunt of closures. Independently run pubs, restaurants, bars and other licensed premises accounted for nearly three quarters of all closures between July and September, reducing the sector in size by 1%. In contrast, the managed sector proved robust over the summer, achieving growth in site numbers of 0.1%.
Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “These numbers are a reminder - if it were needed - that the crisis in hospitality is far from over. Restrictions on socialising and trading may have eased, but their impacts continue to be felt by restaurants, pubs and bars whose reserves have been eaten up by months of closure. Factor in a crisis in recruitment, rising costs in many key areas and widespread supply issues, and it is clear that thousands of firms and jobs remain vulnerable. Targeted government support on these major challenges—starting with more VAT relief—is needed to help to prevent hospitality’s recovery from stalling.”