London footfall on the rise as workers return to offices

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

London footfall on the rise as workers return to offices

Related tags Cga Casual dining Wireless Social Multi-site

London has risen to second place in the latest Top Cities table from CGA by NIQ and Wireless Social, following a bounce back in office workers and visitors to the capital over the first quarter of 2023.

The report, which assesses the performance pf pubs, restaurants and bars in each of Britain’s 10 biggest cities, showed that sales in all 10 were higher than the first quarter of 2022 – however this does overlap a period of weaker consumer demand due to concerns about the Omicron variant of Covid.

In addition, growth has been impacted by high inflation, meaning that trading for many operators remains well behind last year’s levels in real terms.

The combined data from CGA by NIQ and check-in data from Wireless Social is used to produce a ‘vibrancy’ ranking of the biggest 10 cities.

Edinburgh led the rankings in the first quarter of 2023, where sales and log-ins have surged back since the end of Covid restrictions, with London moving to second in the list – up from tenth place in the report for the six weeks to 1 January 2023.

Third-placed Sheffield was the best performing city in the north of England, with Glasgow coming in fourth and Bristol fifth.

However, the combined data suggests that Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds have been hit hard by the cost of living crisis and the rail strikes, with the cities placing in eighth, ninth and tenth place, respectively.

CGA client director Chris Jeffrey says the research shows that consumers remain keen to visit city centre pubs, bars and restaurants despite the squeeze on their discretionary spending.

“While high inflation continues to make trading conditions difficult, hospitality is a resilient and dynamic sector that is helping to breathe life back into cities’ economies after the turmoil of the pandemic. It deserves targeted and sustained support from government to sustain hard-working businesses through the cost crisis,” he says.

Julian Ross, founder and CEO of Wireless Social, adds: “Despite facing up to many significant challenges over the last three years, the sector is continuing to fight back. Footfall and sales remain strong in major hubs all over the UK, especially across competitive socialising and more experience-led concepts that have emerged and blossomed since the pandemic.

“Consumers are looking to get as much for their money as possible, and that is what these operators are capitalising on.

“However, the market is still fraught with economic obstacles that are continuing to pose a serious threat to the survival of many businesses.”

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