Freedom day delay puts 'thousands' more venues at risk

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

CGA and AlixPartners Market Recovery Monitor

Related tags: Cga, Restaurants, Pubs, Bars, Coronavirus

New data from CGA shows a strong reopening for some segments of the industry but 'jeopardy' remains for many independent and late-night businesses.

Around 25,000 licensed premises were still shut at the end of May 2021, the latest edition of the Market Recovery Monitor research from CGA and AlixPartners reveals — and the delay to a complete reopening of hospitality puts a significant number of them at risk of permanent closure.

The research shows that 76.2% of Britain’s licensed sites were trading by the end of last month, with the number more than doubling from April’s total of 32.9% thanks to the return of inside service. However, while more than nine in 10 venues in segments including food pubs (91.9%), high street pubs (92.9%) and casual dining restaurants (93.9%) are now open, figures are much lower in sectors that rely on late-night trading, like nightclubs (49.9%) and bars (72.9%).

With strict restrictions including distancing and table service in place, CGA’s trading data shows that sales have been well below pre-COVID-19 levels in these segments in particular. The four-week delay to a full easing of trading restrictions in England until 19 July, with Scotland likely to follow a similar path, places many closed businesses at risk of failure. 

“Britain already has nearly 10,000 fewer licensed premises than before the pandemic, and that number will sadly rise as a result of the government’s delay," says Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA. 

"Coming as it does on top of a mountain of challenges on debt, tax, rising costs, recruitment and much more, hospitality now deserves sustained financial backing to save thousands of businesses and jobs, and the government’s extension of the ban on commercial evictions of tenants is a welcome first step. The hospitality sector’s recovery is central to the UK’s economic revival, and more support like this is vital if we are to prevent further casualties.”

The Market Recovery Monitor also found that city centre venues have been most likely to reopen, with 81.3% of sites up and running compared to 75.4% in suburban areas and 72.8% in rural areas.

The full June 2021 edition of the Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners is available now. 

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