Hospitality drives Britain's city-centre recovery in the first half of 2022

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Hospitality drives Britain's city-centre recovery in the first half of 2022

Related tags Cga Hospitality Wireless Social

Solid sales growth across hospitality has helped Britain’s regional city centres to recover their 'vibrancy' in the first half of 2022, research from CGA and Wireless Social shows.

The latest ‘Top Cities’ report indicates that trading in Britain’s 10 most populous cities has improved on the benchmarks of 2019 in six consecutive four-week periods this year.

Sales over the latest four-week period, to 2 July, were an average of 2% higher than in the same time in 2019.

“Britain’s cities were badly hit by two years of Covid restrictions, but this research shows how hospitality can help revitalise them,” says Chris Jeffrey, CGA client director.

While so much retail activity moves online, restaurants, pubs and bars are giving people reasons to visit cities, and keeping their central areas vibrant.”

The ‘Top Cities’ research combines CGA’s sales data with device log-in data from Wireless Social to provide a ‘vibrancy’ ranking of Britain’s cities.

It shows that over the first half of the year, Glasgow has secured the highest average ranking, scoring best for vibrancy in three of the six four-week periods. Bristol and Birmingham rank second and third on average. Between late February and early June, Manchester performed better than any other British city.

At the other end of the rankings, London has consistently finished bottom over the first half of the year, with sales down by 8% on 2019 in the latest four weeks to 2 July. A slower than hoped return of office workers and tourists — made worse by rail strikes in June —has held down sales in central parts of the capital, though there are signs that sales are now approaching pre-Covid levels.

The research also indicates that device log-ins remain well down in all 10 cities compared to 2019.

“The first six months of the year have been a hugely welcome return to form for hospitality businesses, with footfall and sales data approaching and, in some cases, exceeding 2019 levels in certain parts of the country,” says Julian Ross, founder and CEO of Wireless Social.

“What has been more alarming is the slow pick up in London, where flexible working patterns have hit city centre businesses that are hugely reliant on trade from office workers.

“This, coupled with 40-year inflation highs, a crippled supply chain, fluctuating consumer confidence and, most recently record-breaking temperatures, has created a melting pot of operational challenges. It’s vital that the sector receives as much support and backing as it can possibly get, only then will hubs like London truly return to form.” 

Related topics Trends & Reports Casual Dining

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