Businesses absorbed prices rather than passing them on

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Struggle continues: no operators will be able to decrease prices in June 2023 (credit: Getty/andresr)
Struggle continues: no operators will be able to decrease prices in June 2023 (credit: Getty/andresr)

Related tags Finance Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators Ons

Many hospitality businesses have stated they have had to absorb climbing costs rather than pass those on to customers as financial headwinds continue to batter the sector.

The latest Business insights and impact on the UK economy​ fortnightly report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey found almost seven in 10 businesses (68.1%) saw prices for goods they have bought rise but only three in 10 (32.3%) increased their own prices during April 2023 versus the previous month, meaning companies have taken a fiscal hit.

Naturally, zero businesses in the hospitality sector (which is classed as ‘accommodation and food service activities’ by the ONS) will be able to decrease the prices they charge in June while 29.6% said their prices will have to go up with just over half (51.2%) stating prices will stay the same.

Sector businesses were asked how their turnover in April 2023 compared to March 2023, excluding any seasonality trading, and 26.9% said it had decreased, 20.6% said it had increased while the biggest percentage share (40.9%) said it had stayed the same.

Hope on horizon

However, more companies expect June 2023 to bring some sunshine to the top line with more than a quarter (27.5%) expecting to see an increase in turnover with just one in 10 (11.9%) forecasting a decrease while four in 10 (42.7%) expecting it to stay the same as the previous month.

In early May 2023, all businesses categories that had not permanently stopped trading were asked in which ways, if any, their business had been affected by any price rises they had experienced.

Almost two thirds (63%) of reported they were affected by general increases in prices in one or more ways; 26% reported they had not been affected by price rises, and 11% were not sure.

The most commonly reported impacts were they had to absorb costs (42%), they had to pass on price increases to customers (27%) while 11% have had to change their suppliers. These were all broadly stable with early April 2023.

Energy issues

Focusing back on the hospitality sector, respondents were asked if energy prices in early May had affected them. About one in 20 (6.5%) said their business had not been affected while 65.1% said production and/or suppliers had been affected with 17.9% being unsure.

Looking ahead, businesses were asked how they would describe their overall performance, such as pricing, trading and workforce, in April 2023 compared with April 2022. One in five (20%) said their performance had decreased while 18.6% said it had increased with 41.4% stating it had stayed the same.

More details on this data, which received feedback from almost 10,000 respondents, can be found at the Office for National Statistics by clicking here​.

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