Pandemic cost hospitality industry £100b in sales

30 July 2021 by
Pandemic cost hospitality industry £100b in sales

Hospitality businesses have suffered a £100.2b drop in sales from pre-pandemic levels in the 15 months since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest edition of the UKHospitality Quarterly Tracker with CGA reveals.

Prolonged closures and severe trading restrictions limited total sector sales in the 12 months to the end of June 2021 to an estimated £59.8b – down by £72b from the total of £131.9b in the 12 months to the end of June 2019. Adding on the second quarter of 2020, this brought total sales in the last 15 months to £64.4b, £100.2b below the total of £164.6b in the 15-month period to June 2019.

The latest quarterly figures were a notable improvement on recent year-on-year comparatives, following the easing of restrictions for restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels and entertainment venues since mid-April, compared to a period when hospitality was almost totally shut in 2020.

As a result, estimated sales in the three months to the end of June 2021 totalled £18.4b, compared to £4.6b in the same quarter of 2020. The sharp increase showed that hospitality's recovery was under way.

However, the £100.2b shortfall in sales from pre-pandemic levels indicated the seismic impact of Covid-19 on the UK's hospitality sector. While the easing of restrictions from Monday 19 July has given businesses greater freedom to trade – and allowed some to open for the first time in 16 months – many face further challenges including debt burdens, staffing crises and fragile consumer confidence.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: "These figures confirm in stark terms the huge impacts on the hospitality sector during Covid. Furthermore, while we hoped to be close to normal trading from 19 July, in reality hospitality businesses instead remain impeded, by the ongoing ‘pingdemic' crisis, the pre-existing staffing shortage and the looming shadow of vaccine passports over some of the sector.

"History tells us that hospitality can be a leading economic force in driving an economic recovery but to do so in current conditions and with huge debt accruals, it will need further support to push it over the line and back to pre-Covid trading. Extension of the business rates holiday, speedy resolution to the rent problem and retention of the lower VAT rate indefinitely are more crucial than ever to safeguard jobs and businesses."

Photo: Irina Soboleva/

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