25,000 venues still at risk of closure

Around 25,000 licensed premises were still shut as of 31 May 2021, new research reveals, with the delays to the final phase of reopening across the UK putting a significant number of these operators at risk of permenant closure. 

The research, from the latest Market Recovery Monitor research from CGA and AlixPartners, shows that 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 10 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, like nightclubs (49.9%) and bars (72.9%).

The four-week delay to a full easing of trading restrictions in England until 19 July, with Scotland likely to follow a similar path, places many closed businesses in jeopardy of failure.

“Britain already has nearly 10,000 fewer licensed premises than before the pandemic, and that number will sadly rise as a result of the government’s delay," says Karl Chessell, CGA’s director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA.

"Coming as it does on top of a mountain of challenges on debt, tax, rising costs, recruitment and much more, hospitality now deserves sustained financial backing to save thousands of businesses and jobs, and the government’s extension of the ban on commercial evictions of tenants is a welcome first step. 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.”

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