London's hospitality sector edges back as sales rise in Britain's city centres

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

London's hospitality sector edges back as sales rise in Britain's city centres CGA and Wireless Social Top Cities Vibrancy Report

Related tags: Cga, London, Coronavirus, Sales growth, Wireless Social

London’s pubs, bars and restaurants are gradually returning towards pre-Covid levels of visits, according to new research from CGA and Wireless Social.

The latest Top Cities Vibrancy Report, which provides a ‘vibrancy’ ranking of the 10 most populous cities, found that while trading in the capital remains just below the levels of March and April 2019,  sales and check-ins rose in correlation to the return of office workers and tourists to the capital.

Glasgow, Birmingham, and Manchester also saw sales growth.

“Closures and the shortage of office workers, visitors and shoppers have taken a heavy toll on hospitality in London, so it’s good to see signs that much of the pre-pandemic vibrancy is returning,” says Chris Jeffrey, CGA client director. 

“Regional cities are also building back well, raising hopes for a strong summer.

“However, cost-of-living pressures on consumers cast a shadow over prospects, and with operators’ energy, food, labour and other costs rising sharply too, we can expect more bumps on city centres’ road to recovery.”

Across Britain’s top 10 cities, CGA’s data shows that average sales in the four weeks to 9 April were 3% ahead of the same period in 2019, while Wireless Social’s figures indicate that device check-ins remain 32% down.

“While it’s great to see the cultural hub of London climbing the ranks, there is still a long way to go before we’re finally back at pre-Covid levels of activity,” says Julian Ross, founder and CEO of Wireless Social.

“During the summer months we should see an uplift with a number of occasions set to drive excitement amongst consumers including the Jubilee, women’s EUROs and the Commonwealth Games.

“However, huge uncertainty remains present, as city centre-based firms continue to adopt flexible working practices that, for the most part, will continue to be damaging for hospitality. This, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis that is impacting consumer confidence, will take its toll on further recovery in city-centre hubs like London.”

Related topics: Trends & Reports

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