Sales of PPE in the UK overtake sandwiches with the masks and hand sanitiser industry now worth more than £8.7BILLION

  • Mandatory mask-wearing has caused the booming PPE sector to grow at speed  
  • Manufacturer ViraxCare said the market had ‘exploded’ at ‘blistering pace’
  • High street footfall nosedived during lockdown as people worked from home 

Rocketing sales of PPE have overtaken sandwiches during the pandemic to become an £8.7billion industry, analysis has revealed.

Mandatory mask-wearing has caused the booming PPE sector to surpass the beleaguered sandwich industry which was estimated at £8billion pre-crisis.

Manufacturers of PPE are among the few businesses to have thrived in recent months as coronavirus drove demand for face coverings and hand sanitiser. 

ViraxCare, a manufacturer that carried out the analysis, says the sector has ballooned at breakneck speed.

UK sales of PPE have surged during the pandemic (passengers on the Tube pictured)

Starved of customers, sandwich shops that rely on a daily stream of workers took a massive financial hit during lockdown (Pret a Manger pictured)

James Foster, chief executive, said: ‘Almost overnight PPE has become ubiquitous. Never has an industry broadened so quickly, quite so urgently. 

‘The result is that its market has exploded, overtaking everyday items at a blistering pace.

‘Bosses have a lot to think about when employees return to work, including cleaning regimes, testing, and, of course, PPE. 

‘The most prepared companies will integrate those things into the daily lives of staff almost seamlessly, and the subscription model is going to be the key to that, particularly for SMEs.’ 

After months of hesitation, face coverings in shops and on transport were made compulsory by the government in July, triggering a scramble for masks

After months of hesitation, face coverings in shops and on transport were made compulsory by the government in July, triggering a scramble for masks. 

Whereas at the height of lockdown high street footfall nosedived as offices lay empty and people worked from home.

Starved of customers, sandwich shops that rely on a daily stream of workers took a massive financial hit. 

Pret a Manger announced it was cutting 3,000 jobs after claiming a decade of growth was wiped off its books , while Costa announced 1,650 redundancies.

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