Brexit sees hospitality spending slump to three-year low

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Brexit sees hospitality spending slump to three-year low

Related tags: Hotel

Consumer spending on hospitality grew at its lowest level for over three years in the run-up to the Brexit vote, according to Visa UK’s latest Consumer Spending Index.

Hotels, restaurants and bars, which had been the best performing sector in the past year, saw growth slump to its weakest level since January 2013.

The results mirrored a trend across the wider economy, where uncertainty over the referendum resulted in the weakest quarterly growth in spending in two years.

Visa said that while it was too early to assess the full the impact of the vote, there was a ‘clear trend’ showing a slowdown in consumers purchasing discretionary items such as takeaways, new cars and flights.

However, many hospitality businesses remain optimistic about the future.

Josh Beer, of The Illustrious Pub Company in Cambridgeshire, said that though spending had fallen four per cent across the firm's four pubs in June he believed it was a temporary drop.

“Looking ahead, we expect that our pubs will perform well, and don’t believe that the referendum will impact our overall sales,” he said.

“But as a small business we are a bit concerned about how the uncertainty around Brexit may impact banks’ lending to businesses for renovation and development.”

Quan Nguyen, of London’s Chi Café, said that while sales had risen in the first half of June, the last two weeks saw a slight drop.

Nguyen said: “It’s perhaps too early though to say whether the drop in sales was down to the vote, or just because of the wet weather.

"Being in central London, a lot of our customers said they are worried about their job prospects now, and we fear this whole uncertainty may eventually impact our sales.”

While the full extent of the fallout from the Brexit vote remains uncertain, the hospitality industry seems set for a short term boost from international visitors​ taking advantage of the weaker pound.

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