'Devastating' figures

Hospitality sector suffers £72bn lockdown wipeout

Beehive Inn pub Grassmarket

Pubs were among the hardest hit by the lockdown (pic: Terry Murden)

Britain’s hospitality sector lost more than half of its annual turnover last year – a staggering £72 billion – amid fresh concern at new lockdown measures.

Sales collapsed 54% from £133.5bn in 2019 to £61.7bn in 2020 as pubs, hotels and restaurants were forced to close.

The UKHospitality and CGA Quarterly Tracker follows recent data showing nearly 10,000 hospitality businesses closed last year, a net loss of 6,000 when openings are taken into account.

Strict local and national restrictions on trading and socialising caused a particularly damaging drop in trade in the final quarter of the year, the Tracker shows.

Kate Nicholls: devastating figures (pic: Terry Murden)

Sales from October to December were worth just £14.3bn – down by £18.7bn or 57% on the last quarter of 2019.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “These figures are simply devastating; hospitality was hit first, hit hardest and continues to suffer because of pandemic restrictions brought in.

“And sitting behind this massive loss of revenue is the dreadful, real impact on people’s lives and livelihoods across all parts of the sector and supply chain.

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“It is also yet another stark reminder of the importance of having an exit strategy from the current lockdown and providing ongoing support for sector businesses.

“Hospitality can and will bounce back and it’s in the interests of the Government to support a sector that, in normal times, contributes many billions of pounds in tax to the Treasury and employs over three million people.”

Phil Tate, group chief executive of research consultancy CGA, said: “This is the clearest evidence yet of the shattering impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s hospitality industry.

“With every week of restrictions, the sector loses more than a billion pounds of sales, hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs.”

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