Hospitality counts cost of second lost Christmas

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality counts cost of second lost Christmas with pubs, bars and restaurants losing £10,335 on average

Related tags Coronavirus ukhospitality

Pubs, bars and restaurants lost £10,335 on average in the week leading up to Christmas with takings on Christmas Day down 60% compared to 2019, according to figures from UKHospitality.

The findings, which were published prior to New Year's Eve, demonstrate how the industry’s fight to recover from the pandemic has been decimated by the impact of the Omicron Covid variant.

Restaurants and pubs across the UK reported huge numbers of cancellations​ in the week leading up to Christmas, with many forced to close early​ for the festive holidays.

Restrictions on socialising were also reintroduced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the Christmas period, which is having a further detrimental effect on businesses in those countries.

According to UKHospitality, average sales for the sector had been close to pre-pandemic levels (98%) in the weeks prior to the new Omicron variant emerging.

However, 'work from home' restrictions, and the subsequent drop in consumer confidence and footfall has hit businesses hard, with city centre and London venues facing a particularly tough Christmas season.

With December usually equal to three months’ worth of trading, this decline in trade pushes back recovery by at least a the same amount of time, adds UKHospitality.

“Hospitality businesses have been hit hard during a key trading period – and this after missing out on the crucial Christmas and New Year sales last year," says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality. 

“Restrictions must be kept to a minimum and must be lifted as quickly as possible to help an already beleaguered sector or many will simply not survive – and those who do make it through face a return to 20% VAT in April.

“In order to help the industry recover and return to growth, the Government must commit to keeping VAT at 12.5% and offering enhanced rates relief. Further support will also be needed should additional restrictions be imposed or the tougher measures in Scotland and Wales be retained into 2022.”

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