Hospitality accounts for over half of commercial closures in the City of London in 2020

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Credit: Wiki Commons (Almurtadha Altae)
Credit: Wiki Commons (Almurtadha Altae)

Related tags: City of london, Restaurant, Closure, Coronavirus, lockdown

Hospitality and leisure accounted for more than half of commercial business closures in the City of London last year, according to research by the Local Data Company.

Analysis released by the retail data consultancy reveals that 54% of all closures seen in the City in 2020 were hospitality and leisure units, of which 83% were national chains that have had to rationalise their London estates as a result of significantly declining footfall.

In total, the number of vacant units in the City of London increased by 47%, from 174 at the end of 2019 to 255 at the end of 2020.

Vacancy is now at the highest level in five years in the City where retail stock is densely supplied with food to go units, pubs, bars and restaurants

Take away food units accounted for the highest number of closures, with 54 sites shut. Four restaurants also closed their doors, as did five pubs and 14 bars.

The vacancy rate across the Square Mile increased by 3.5% - compared to an average increase of 1.3% for Greater London and 1.6% for the whole of Great Britain - reflecting the impact of the pandemic, which has led to a collapse in footfall across the City as offices remain shut and workers stay at home.

"The City of London has been dramatically hit given that the vast majority of the worker population, on which these businesses are almost solely reliant, went away overnight as the Government’s initial work from home order kicked in," says Lucy Stainton, head of retail and strategic partnerships at the Local Data Company.

"The fact that a significant number of retailers deemed ‘essential’ have chosen not to open in this location throughout various lockdowns, despite their ability to trade, is a further indication of just how low current consumer demand is in the City.

"Looking forward we might expect that once people are able to safely return to offices, the need, and demand, for this supporting economy will return just as quickly as it went away, presenting a real opportunity for agile operators especially in those key categories such as take away food shops, bars and restaurants.”

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