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At least 50k English sites to be shut or unviable next week Published Date: 27/11/2020

Research for the latest edition of the Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners, to be published next week, shows that 36,648 premises—39% of England’s total—are located in Tier 3 areas, where hospitality venues must stay closed except for takeaways and deliveries. Another 55%, or 55,502 sites, are in Tier 2 areas, where alcoholic drinks can’t be sold unless with substantial meals. CGA’s research suggests that at least a third of these sites will not be viable under these and other Tier 2 restrictions.

This takes the number of sites likely to stay closed after the end of lockdown to 50,000 at a minimum. The number will rise further if operators in Tier 2 areas decide that other regulations, including on curfews and group sizes, make it unprofitable to trade.

CGA’s research shows that just 2% of England’s licensed premises—a total of 2,227 sites—are located in Tier 1 areas, where restrictions are loosest. Here, too, a significant number of businesses could decide to remain closed.

The new edition of the Market Recovery Monitor provides in-depth analysis of the market in Scotland and Wales, where restrictions have eased in recent weeks. Even so, only 40.4% of sites in Scotland are trading at the end of November, with 7,189 of them in regions designated as Level 3 or 4, where they are subject to limited trading or forced to close. Trading numbers in Wales are only slightly higher at 42.2%, despite the country ending a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown earlier this month.

Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA said:

“Reopening figures from Scotland and Wales make ominous reading as England emerges from lockdown.

“With nearly two in five English sites unable to welcome guests and more than half subject to major constraints, December is going to be difficult in the extreme. Hospitality has worked incredibly hard to give people safe and pleasurable experiences since July, but the tiered system in the most important trading month of the year is going to place the future of many of them in jeopardy.”