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Mon 21st Jun 2021 - Some 25,000 licensed premises still shut with thousands more at risk after ‘Freedom Day’ delay
Some 25,000 licensed premises still shut with thousands more at risk after ‘Freedom Day’ delay: About 25,000 licensed premises were still shut at the end of May, the latest edition of the Market Recovery Monitor research from CGA and AlixPartners has revealed. The research showed 76.2% of Britain’s licensed sites were trading by the end of last month, with the number more than doubling from April’s total of 32.9% thanks to the return of inside service. However, while more than nine in ten venues in segments including food pubs (91.9%), high street pubs (92.9%) and casual dining restaurants (93.9%) are now open, figures are much lower in sectors that rely on late-night trading, such as nightclubs (49.9%) and bars (72.9%). With strict restrictions including distancing and table service in place, CGA’s trading data showed sales have been well below pre-covid-19 levels in these segments in particular. CGA and AlixPartners said the delay to a complete reopening of hospitality puts a significant number of those sites still shut at risk of permanent closure. The independent licensed sector has only 66.9% of its venues open by the end of May, compared with 93.1% of managed sites. There has been a fuller reopening of city centres, where 81.3% of sites have opened, than in suburban (75.4%) and rural (72.8%) areas. There was a significantly lower level of reopening by the end of May in Wales (69.8%) than in England (76.5%) and Scotland (77.6%). Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Britain already has almost 10,000 fewer licensed premises than before the pandemic, and that number will sadly rise as a result of the government’s delay. The hospitality sector’s recovery is central to the UK’s economic revival, and more support like this is vital if we are to prevent further casualties.” AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith added: “Many operators will have reopened in anticipation of restrictions falling away on 21 June, and likely forecast and accepted suppressed trade for the period up to that point. A further delay of four weeks is a devastating blow, creating significant uncertainty and further financial strain. At a time when Euro 2020 is in full swing and there is a feel-good factor across the country, this extension to restrictions could not have come at a worse time for pubs and other drink-led venues.”
AlixPartners is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member 

Tourism and recreation sector leads way as UK recovery accelerates: The tourism and recreation sector, which includes pubs and restaurants, led the way as the UK recovery accelerated in May. A total of 11 of 14 UK sectors reported faster output growth month-on-month in May, up from nine in April, according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Recovery Tracker. The tourism and recreation sector recorded the sharpest rise in output growth – 62.4 in May versus 51.9 in April – as hotels, pubs and restaurants experienced a release of pent-up consumer demand. A reading above 50 signals output is rising, while a reading below 50 indicates output is contracting. Job creation hit pre-pandemic levels, with all 14 sectors reporting jobs growth in May and the tourism and recreation sector adding jobs for the first time since January 2020. While output and job creation continued to improve in May, rising inflation indicated business conditions may be less benign in the coming months. Every sector monitored by the Tracker experienced a sharp rise in input costs during May. However, the Tracker also found early signs in May of an easing of supply chain disruption – a key driver of input cost inflation. The proportion of UK manufacturers citing shipping delays significantly fell month-on-month, from 23% in April to 16%, and reports of congestion at ports dropped from 37% to 24% in May.

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