“The whole industry is expected to be booming … and it just isn’t,” said the Liverpool hotel boss as new data reveals losses in the Christmas build-up
New data from UKHospitality has revealed that downtown restaurants and bars have been hit particularly hard as Christmas parties have been canceled and people have returned to work from home.
Pubs, bars and restaurants lost on average Â£ 10,335 in the week leading up to Christmas, new data shows.
On Christmas Day, revenue was down 60% from 2019, according to new figures from industry organization UKHospitality.
The average losses exceed the maximum cash grants of Â£ 6,000 offered to each affected site by Chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of his Â£ 1billion fund announced last week.
City center and London sites have been hit the hardest, with the rise of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 and new work from home instructions that have hit the pre-Christmas celebrations hard, a declared the trade body.
The latest figures have led to calls from the organization for the government to ensure more support is offered to the sector as it struggles to recover.
For comparison, data from the weeks leading up to Omicron’s emergence showed average sales were at 98% of pre-pandemic levels, leaving many to hope for a successful festive season.
December is generally equal to three months of trading, UKHospitality said, which means that the recovery of the sector and the economy in general could now take much longer due to the latest variant.
Paul Askew, chief patron of the Art School of Liverpool, spoke about what the next few weeks could hold in store for us as consumer confidence continues to plummet:
âThe problem we have is that we are told there are no restrictions. This could be good news, but unless something credible is done to increase consumer confidence, people will continue to cancel or stay home.
âOur business has been slowly eroded by the spate of announcements to date which has caused anxiety around Omicron and in our situation in Liverpool we have seen large group bookings canceled. The whole industry is expected to be booming in the UK right now and it just isn’t.
âSo this halfway hesitation may serve political convenience but not recovery and business confidence.
âThe government needs to make it clear to consumers that it is safe to go out, or if it isn’t, put a circuit breaker in place and compensate all businesses involved. It is this intransigence that has been so damaging to the hospitality industry in recent weeks as well as other sectors across the country that are fueling the economy. The maximum grant of Â£ 6,000 announced by the Chancellor needs urgent reconsideration as it does not come close to what has been lost – we are repaying CBILs, Bounce Back loans and still no insurance payments have been made. carried out. I know that some restaurateurs are also being sued for historic rent.
âI think the country can no longer be held back by unvaccinated people and back into hospital wards. Society and our way of life have to change and we don’t feel too far away from 12 months ago last Christmas. The majority that did what we were asked to do to make things happen should not be the ones that are stagnant. “
UKHospitality Managing Director Kate Nicholls said:
âHospitality businesses have been hit hard during a key business period – and this after missing crucial Christmas and New Years sales last year.
âRestrictions need to be minimized and need to be lifted as quickly as possible to help an already besieged industry or many simply won’t survive – and those who do face a 20% VAT return in April.
âIn order to help the industry recover and resume growth, the government must commit to keeping VAT at 12.5% ââand offering improved rate relief.
“Further support will also be needed if further restrictions are imposed or if the stricter measures in Scotland and Wales are maintained until 2022.”