New Market Recovery Monitor research reveals that at the end of June 2021, Britain had around 106,000 licensed premises — more than 9,000 venues less than the total number of venues in June 2020.
This equates to an 8% contraction of the market in just 12 months.
It comes as around 12,000 licensed premises will finally able to reopen on Monday (19 July) when Covid-19 restrictions on hospitality venues in England are lifted on so-called 'Freedom Day'.
The Monitor shows that, while just under 89% of all known UK hospitality venues were open by the end of June 2021, 11,928 sites have yet to reopen and the hope is that many of these will do so on the 19 July.
This is primarily concentrated on the independent sector, where 11,092 licensed premises remained shut as of the end of June. Many are likely to be part of the late night-market, which is one of the last remaining hospitality sectors to have been given the go-ahead to reopen.
Nearly one third (31.2%) of large and late-night venues were still closed as of the end of June.
“After a hugely difficult 16 months for hospitality, and an unwelcome extra four-week delay until 'Freedom Day’, it will be a huge relief to see many more sites open," says Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA.
"But with so many venues still closed and restrictions still in place, it will be a very anxious wait to see how many are able to reopen. Hospitality has already lost more than 9,000 sites during the COVID-19 crisis, and sustained government support is essential to prevent further damage.”
CGA research indicates that hospitality industry sales have been broadly modest this year, with many businesses struggling with rising costs, staff shortages and fragile consumer confidence.
“While Freedom Day will be welcomed by many operators in the late-night market, it certainly does not signal the end of the challenges for those businesses and the wider sector," says Craig Rachel, AlixPartners’ director.
"Operators face a summer of dealing with recruitment difficulties and staff absences due to self-isolation, combined with the tapering away of Government support and tackling huge levels of debt. It promises to be a long road to recovery for hospitality.”