UK to spend £2.5bn this week as indoor hospitality reopens

The UK is set to collectively spend £2.5bn this week as indoor hospitality reopens and restrictions further ease, giving a “much-needed” boost to the high street.  

According to a new report, conducted by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), 104 million people are predicted to visit hospitality venues this week. On their first day of full reopening today (17 May), venues are expected to seat 13.6 million customers, who are forecast to spend £296.8m throughout the day.

Friday and Saturday are set to be the busiest days, with 16.1 million and 18.3 million people planning to visit venues, spending £389.1m and £426.2m respectively.

With punters having been unable to sit inside when going out since 16 December 2020, the report also highlights “how eager customers are to make up for lost time”, as predicted sales for next week are significantly higher than average.

Compared to the same week in 2019, during the last May before Covid, venues are set to see a 34.8% increase in sales this week, with consumers predicted to spend 41.2% more on Saturday (£426.2m) than the same day in 2019 (£301.84m).

The findings come as VoucherCodes released a new report with the CRR, Life after Covid, which examines prospects for the hospitality industry in 2021 and 2022 as it recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite venues being forced to remain closed during lockdown between January and April 2021, followed by a partial re-opening from 12 April until 17 May, it said the “future looks bright”.

In 2021, the hospitality industry is forecast to make a “considerable” increase of 63.3% in sales compared to 2020, equivalent to £31.236bn. By the end of 2021, the hospitality industry is set to make a total of £80.550bn.

Looking ahead to 2022, the report predicts that hospitality is “set for a bumper year” as people enjoy their first full year without restrictions since 2019. Hospitality venues are forecast to take in £120.564bn by the end of 2022, 49.7% more than in 2021.

Angus Drummond, senior director, commercial at said: “If people in the UK are known for anything it’s our love for pubs and restaurants, so it’s no surprise to see that so many people are planning to make the most of being able to sit inside and enjoy drinks and meals out next week.

“It’s been an incredibly tough year for the hospitality industry with large periods of closure, so it’s particularly encouraging that this report forecasts a quick and strong recovery over the next couple of years. At VoucherCodes, we’re already working closely with our hospitality partners to support them during this adjustment period, as well as helping consumers save money as they get back to enjoying going out again.”

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