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Almost 1,000 hospitality venues shut in two months

Great Britain’s hospitality sector lost 980 sites between July and September 2021, according to new data.

The hospitality sector is still struggling to cope with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic

The latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and Alix Partners showed the closure of nearly 1,000 venues during the two-month period – an average of 16 sites per day – because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Challenges that contributed to the closures included operational problems, such as labour shortages, disruption to supply chains and rising costs.

Independently run pubs, bars, restaurants and other licensed venues were hit hardest, according to the report, accounting for nearly three quarters of all closures during the period.

Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “These numbers are a reminder – if it were needed – that the crisis in hospitality is far from over.

“Restrictions on socialising and trading may have eased, but their impacts continue to be felt by restaurants, pubs and bars whose reserves have been eaten up by months of closure.

“Factor in a crisis in recruitment, rising costs in many key areas and widespread supply issues, and it is clear that thousands of firms and jobs remain vulnerable.

“Targeted government support on these major challenges – starting with more VAT relief – is needed to help prevent hospitality’s recovery from stalling.”

‘Challenging winter’

Across the nightclub sector, the number of venues in Great Britain dropped by almost 100 during the same period – a 9% fall.

Graeme Smith, Alix Partners’ managing director, added: “These figures are a stark reminder, if needed, that the full lifting of restrictions in July did not signal an end to the challenges faced by hospitality businesses.

“The impact on nightclubs, which were unable to trade at all during the pandemic, has been particularly acute with almost one in 10 sites closing in the past two months.

“Demand remains strong but with staff shortages, utility cost inflation and supply chain disruption, there are renewed efforts to secure continued government support to the industry to help it weather this storm as the reopening and rehabilitation process continues through what may be a challenging winter.”

The news of venue closures follows a report earlier this week from the Night Time Industries Association, which reported around 86,000 people working in the night-time industry have lost their jobs because of the pandemic.

However, insights service Lumina Intelligence expects the UK pub and bar industry to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024, according to its UK Pub & Bar Market Report 2021.

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