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Tue 26th Jul 2022 - Hospitality drives Britain’s city centre recovery in the first half of 2022
Hospitality drives Britain’s city centre recovery in the first half of 2022: Solid sales growth in restaurants, pubs and bars has helped Britain’s regional city centres to recover their vibrancy in the first six months of 2022, the latest ‘Top Cities’ research from CGA and Wireless Social shows. It indicates that trading in Britain’s ten 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. The ‘Top Cities’ research combines CGA’s sales data with device log-in data from Wireless Social, the leading connectivity solutions provider for hospitality and leisure businesses, 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 ten cities compared to 2019. See below for the full list of cities. The ‘Top Cities’ research reveals fluctuations in vibrancy from city to city and month to month. In the most recent four-week block to 2 July, Leicester is placed top for the first time, while Edinburgh is second, having moved steadily up the rankings this year. Bristol and Leeds are third and fourth in the latest list. CGA client director Chris Jeffrey said: “Britain’s cities were badly hit by two years of covid restrictions, but this research shows how hospitality can help revitalise them. While so much retail activity moves online, restaurants, pubs and bars are giving people reasons to visit cities, and keeping their central areas vibrant. However, operators face huge inflationary pressures, which is making real-terms sales growth difficult, and the cost-of-living crisis is constricting consumers’ spending. Hospitality can continue to fuel Britain’s economic revival, but it deserves proper support from government to help sustain fragile businesses over this challenging period.” Julian Ross, founder and chief executive of Wireless Social, said: “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. 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.”

Host of pub operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies: A host of pub operators are among the 43 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday (29 July), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Donnington Brewery, which is run and owned by James Arkell and operates 19 Cotswold pubs as well as its brewery and two luxury accommodations. Also added this month is Totally Brewed, owned by Robert Witt, which currently operates the Totally Tapped micropub and bottle shop in Beeston’s Chilwell Road and is planning a second site on the same road. In addition, London pub operators Darren and Janet Wellman, who have taken on their fourth pub with Shepherd Neame, the Spanish Galleon in Greenwich, will be featured. Also included this month is FB Taverns, which is a new pub vehicle backed by high-net-worth individual Alexander Embiricos and led by James Maizels, which has launched with the acquisition of a seven-strong package of pubs from Admiral Taverns. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,200-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. It features more than 2,000 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 5 August, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 17,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers have also been given exclusive access to a new database. The UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. The third edition, which was sent on Friday (22 July), features 140 companies and almost 60,000 words of content, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Mark Wingett.

Record fall in spending power for households: Household disposable income fell by a record £44 a week in June, marking its eighth consecutive month of decline as the cost of living crisis intensifies. The Times reports the average household was £175.80 worse off in June this year than they were in the same month in 2021, according to Asda’s monthly income tracker, produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. Disposable income, which is defined for the purposes of the tracker as the income households have left to spend after taxes and essential bills, fell to its lowest level in five years, with the average household left with £200 to spend. A fifth of households have a shortfall of £60 every week between their earnings and what they need for essential spending, including rent or mortgage payments, utility bills and transport costs, according to the analysis. The drop in disposable income was recorded across all UK regions, with the biggest falls seen in Wales and the northeast of England and the smallest declines in London and the southeast. Consumers cut back on essential and non-essential spending in June, a report on spending by Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society, indicates. Spending fell by an average of 4%, driven by a 6% decline in spending on non-essentials and a 3% fall in essential spending. Spending on nearly all non-essential categories fell in June with the biggest drops recorded in gardening, gambling and subscriptions to streaming services and magazines. There was a fall in spending on household bills and paying off essential debts compared with May. Fuel was the only category of essential spending to rise, mainly because of the rise in fuel prices. Mark Nalder, head of payments at Nationwide, said: “Following a peak in spending during May, our data suggests households have started to cut back across the board and where they can. This is happening as we enter the summer period where customers will want to enjoy themselves, so it will be interesting to see how these often conflicting interests are balanced. As we head into the holiday season, we expect budgeting to continue being a feature as the nation prepares for even higher costs with inflation continuing to climb and the energy price cap rising again this autumn.”

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