Late-night sector losing up to 40% trade due to strikes

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Business off track: rail strikes are ‘hugely damaging’ for the sector (credit: Getty/coldsnowstorm)
Business off track: rail strikes are ‘hugely damaging’ for the sector (credit: Getty/coldsnowstorm)

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Late-night hospitality businesses are losing up to 40% of trade because of the ongoing rail strikes, according to the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).

The trade body said the night-time economy relies heavily on the rail network to bring customers to and from such venues, with 81% of London theatregoers using public transport and a similar proportion of hospitality customers.

It added the rail strikes are “hugely damaging” for the sector and it “feels counter intuitive” when the industry and society is facing so many other challenges and urged all stakeholders to come together to support a recovery everyone can all benefit from.

Critical point

NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “Our industry is suffering heavily from rising costs, as inflation reaches 9.1%, with most reporting an estimated loss of up to 40% in trade from the national rail strike.

“Our sector is at a critical point in its recovery, as we embark on one of the most important summer festival seasons.

“Anger and frustration are growing because it feels, for many, like they are being drawn back to business levels experienced during the Covid lockdowns.

“Long-term strike action will lead to an irreparable loss of business and jobs after so much hard work has been put into recovery in the past 12 months.”

Recovery threatened

Simon Thomas, executive chairman of Leicester Squares’ Hippodrome Casino, added: “First Covid then omicron, now we’ve got the RMT variant. The West End was well on the mend and this strike threatens to push thousands of businesses back into intensive care.”

Earlier this week, the NTIA said the hospitality sector was preparing to brace​ as the strikes took place. Kill said at the time: “The prospective impact on trade will be set to run into millions as we embark on festival season and move into the busy summer periods for tourism.

“Limited rail services across the UK will leave many stranded at night, compromising the safety of staff and customers, with very few alternative transport services available.”

Trade body UKHospitality claimed the strikes would cost the hospitality sector £540m​. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “For a devastated hospitality industry beginning its tentative post-pandemic recovery, the planned strike action couldn’t come at a worse time and might deliver a fatal financial blow to those businesses already struggling to survive.”

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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