More than 12 pubs, restaurants or bars shut EVERY DAY in Britain last year as rampant inflation and soaring energy costs force 4,500 businesses to close in further blow to the dying high street, new figures show
- Number of hospitality venues has decreased by 4.3 per cent since March 2022
- Number of licensed restaurants shrank by 7.8 per cent over the year
More than 12 hospitality venues have shut each day in Britain over the past year amid the pressure of soaring energy costs, according to figures.
High inflation and the cost-of-living crisis have resulted in the closure of 4,593 licensed hospitality premises over the year to March, according to the latest hospitality market monitor from industry experts at CGA by NIQ and AlixPartners.
Nevertheless, the latest figures indicated a slight slowdown in closures in recent months amid stronger than expected consumer spending.
The new data showed that the number of hospitality venues has decreased by 4.3 per cent since March 2022, representing 12.6 closures each day.
Restaurants suffered a particularly damaging year, with the number of licensed restaurants shrinking by 7.8 per cent over the year.
Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of industry body UKHospitality, said the figures ‘sadly’ come as ‘no surprise’.
More than 12 hospitality venues have shut each day in Britain over the past year amid the pressure of soaring energy costs, according to figures. Above: A recently closed Prezzo outlet in Egham, Surrey
The data comes a week after Italian dining chain Prezzo revealed plans to shut 46 restaurants as a result of soaring energy and food costs, putting 810 jobs at risk.
Meanwhile, there was a 2.5 per cent decline in high street pubs over the year.
Karl Chessell, CGA by NIQ’s director for hospitality operators and food, said: ‘Each of the 4,593 closures over the last 12 months represents a sad loss of jobs and the permanent withdrawal of a community asset.’
Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UKHospitality, said the figures come as ‘no surprise’
The overall figures showed that 756 venues shut in the first three months of 2023, although this represented a slowdown in the recent rate of closures. It was the equivalent to 8.4 closures each day.
Mr Chessell added: ‘It is at least encouraging that losses have slowed in the first few months of the year – a welcome indicator that demand for hospitality remains strong.
‘However, the recent cut in Government support on energy bills, alongside a hike in minimum wage rates and the ongoing tax burden, now leaves thousands more fragile venues at risk of closure.’
Graeme Smith, AlixPartners’ managing director, said: ‘Tellingly, this latest study underlines the growing divide between larger and smaller operators, reflecting the varied ability to withstand the continued headwinds the sector faces.
‘The closure rate of independent businesses – (which are) the life blood and entrepreneurial driving force of the sector – continues to vastly outstrip the better-funded corporates and the branded operators.
‘It highlights the need for Government support to be extended, especially on energy costs, if small (often family-owned) businesses are to survive.’
Ms Nicholls said: ‘Sadly it didn’t come as a surprise to us.
‘We did crunch the numbers at the end of last year.
‘Over the Covid period we lost 10 per cent of our estate in UK hospitality, 5 per cent last year, 90 per cent of those are SMEs [small and medium enterprises], so those are businesses that are closed for good and they are not coming back.
‘And unfortunately, three quarters of them were at the end of last year and were citing energy costs.
‘So I think given the scale of the energy crisis that we are facing, the soaring cost price inflation, those figures will only continue to creep up throughout the rest of the year.’
‘However a good a bank holiday trade we get, however good a May, it is not going to offset those losses.’
High inflation and the cost-of-living crisis have resulted in the closure of 4,593 licensed hospitality premises over the year to March, according to the latest hospitality market monitor from industry experts at CGA by NIQ and AlixPartners
She added: ‘We do need to see urgent action from energy suppliers to come and make sure those prices start to fall to businesses.
‘We need continued support from the Government to help the sector through to get through to summer and our busy trading period, and then we need to make sure that we do everything we can to rebuild consumer confidence in the economy, bare down on inflation as much as we possibly can.’
On Friday, trade bodies representing pubs and hospitality businesses called for urgent Government intervention over energy costs and contracts.
The British Beer & Pub Association, UKHospitality and British Institute of Innkeeping wrote to Amanda Solloway, minister for energy consumers and affordability, to call for further support to prevent ‘thousands of job losses’.
A Government spokesperson said: ‘We have faced a period of exceptional economic challenges, caused by the pandemic and Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
‘Through this period, the Government has acted swiftly to provide businesses with an unprecedented package of support which, as of April, has saved them £5.9 billion on energy costs – amounting to over £30 million a day and enabling some to only pay around half of predicted wholesale energy costs.
‘Global energy prices have fallen significantly and are now at their lowest level since before Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
‘The new level of government support reflects this welcome fall in prices, but we will continue to stand by businesses, as we have done over the winter.’
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