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UK loses third of independent nightclubs

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has revealed that 35% of independent nightclubs in the UK closed between March 2020 and December 2023.

The number of night-time economy businesses in the UK fell below 100,000

Data from the night-time economy (NTE) tracker, which is supported by CGA Nielsen, also revealed there was a 32% decrease in the overall number of nightclubs in the same period.

A total of 13,793 NTE businesses have been lost, most prominently in Greater London (-3,011), the central region (-1,898) and Lancashire (-1,616).

The number of NTE businesses fell from 102,860 in March 2020 to 89,067 in December 2023 – a drop of 15.5%.

Independent companies remain the majority, representing 77% of all NTE businesses, although this is a 3% loss of market share from March 2020.

The UK’s largest nightlife operator Rekom called in administrators at the beginning of the year.

Michael Kill, CEO of the NTIA, said: “These figures are a stark reminder of the devastation caused by the past three years, and will, without doubt, anger and frustrate people within the sector.

“However, in the face of adversity, resilience prevails. We are dedicated to supporting our members and championing policies that foster recovery and growth.

“As we confront the aftermath of the pandemic and ongoing operational challenges, it’s essential to acknowledge the resilience and diversity among businesses in our sector.

“Our sector has been neglected twice by the government in financial support during budget allocations, subjected to political manoeuvres aimed at securing votes.

“These statistics unmistakably reflect the crisis gripping our sector, leaving the government with no choice but to take decisive action.”

The NTIA launched a campaign to protect all hospitality businesses in February, in partnership with the Institute of Hospitality.

It had previously campaigned for a VAT reduction, although its calls were ignored in the UK government’s spring budget in March.

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