Hospitality suffered £100bn in lost sales during coronavirus crisis

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Financial impact: the sector saw a drop in sales of more than £100bn amid the pandemic (image: Getty/Tom Werner)
Financial impact: the sector saw a drop in sales of more than £100bn amid the pandemic (image: Getty/Tom Werner)

Related tags: ukhospitality, Kate nicholls, Cga, Finance

The sector has lost £100.2bn in sales compared to pre-pandemic levels amid the Covid-19 crisis, new research has revealed.

The UKHospitality Quarterly Tracker with CGA also found the impact of prolonged closures and trading restrictions limited total sales in the year to 30 June 2021 to an estimated £59.8bn – a drop of £72bn from £131.9bn in the 12 months to 30 June 2019.

During the second quarter of last year, it brings total sales lost in the past 15 months to £64.4bn - £100.2bn lower than the £164.6bn for the 15 months to 30 June 2019.

Challenges ahead

However, these latest figures were an improvement on recent year-on-year comparatives. Due to the sector-wide closure, estimated sales in the three months to 30 June 2021 were £18.4bn compared to £4.6bn in the same quarter of 2020.

While the increase shows recovery for the industry is taking place alongside strong consumer demand, indicating the sector can help power the economy revival, the shortfall shows the seismic impact of the pandemic on the trade.

The easing of restrictions on Monday 19 July has given many businesses more freedom to trade and allowed some to reopen for the first time in more than a year, many now face challenges around debt burdens, staffing crises and fragile consumer confidence.

Huge impacts

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls 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 over to safeguard jobs and businesses.”

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