UK consumers are expected to bring a much needed boost to the economy, spending billions in the first week of indoor dining and entertainment reopening in England on 17 May.
A study by VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) predicts that 104 million people will head out to pubs, restaurants and cafes, with expectation they will spend up to £2.5bn ($3.5bn).
As the hospitality sector fully resumes on Monday, venues are expected to seat 13.6 million customers, who are forecast to spend £297m eating indoors for the first time since December 2020.
Friday and Saturday are set to be the busiest days, with more than 16 million people and over 18 million people planning to head out, spending in excess of £389m and £426m respectively.
The predicted sales next week are significantly higher when compared to 2019 — the last normal May before the coronavirus pandemic last year.
The research shows an expected 34.8% increase in sales next week, compared to the same week in 2019.
Consumers are also predicted to spend 41.2% more on Saturday (£426.2m) than the same day in 2019 (£301.84m).
Output in the hospitality sector, which contributed £59.3bn to the UK economy — roughly 3% of total economic output, slumped in the first quarter of 2020 due the COVID pandemic. It slumped 90% in April 2020 compared to February 2020.
"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," said Angus Drummond, senior director of commercial at VoucherCodes.
It comes as British high streets continue to reel from the impact of coronavirus lockdowns.
A separate study showed that nearly 10% of UK restaurants failed to reopen their doors by the end of April due to the coronavirus crisis.
Even as venues with outdoor dining and drinking areas were allowed to reopen in accordance with the government roadmap, the number of food-led venues dipped by 4,204, according to the CGA AlixPartners Market Recovery Monitor.
The data also showed that by the end of April 2021, just under a third (32.9%) of Britain’s pubs, bars, restaurants and other licensed premises had begun to trade again for the first time since the start of the last national lockdown — a total of just over 35,000 venues.
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