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On-trade suffers £100bn loss during pandemic

Covid-19 has cost the UK hospitality sector £100.2 billion (US$140bn) in trading since the start of the pandemic, new data shows.

Covid-19 has cost the UK hospitality sector £100.2bn in the 15 months to June 2021

The statistics come from the latest edition of the UK Hospitality Quarterly Tracker in association with CGA report.

The UK on-trade generated £164.6bn in the 15-month period to June 2019. However, prolonged closures and ‘severe’ trading restrictions due to Covid-19 caused sales to plummet in the same period to June 2021.

In the 12 months to the end of June 2021, hospitality sales dropped to £59.8bn (US$83.6bn), a decrease of £72bn (US$100.6bn) compared with the same period ending June 2019.

Further declines in sales during the second quarter of 2020, which marked the start of on-trade closures in the UK, brings total sales in the past 15 months down to £64.4bn (US$90bn) – £100.2bn below the same 15-month period ending June 2019.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, 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.”

The data also noted that the most recent quarterly figures show a ‘notable improvement’ on recent year-on-year data, as Covid-19 restrictions have eased across the UK.

Estimated sales in the three months to the end of June 2021 reached £18.4bn (US$25.7bn) – notably higher than the £4.6bn (US$6.4bn) for the same quarter in 2020.

Nicholls added: “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.”

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