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Leeds and Glasgow hospitality sectors resurgent despite pandemic disruption

Published:  09 February, 2022

New research from CGA Strategy has uncovered a stark division between hospitality businesses in London and regional cities across the UK, with the latter thriving in the context of a difficult trading period, while London continues to struggle.

Based on a combination of sales data from CGA and device logins from connectivity firm Wireless Social, The Top Cities Vibrancy Report provides a unique insight into how busy a particular city is, which will vary from month to month depending on various influences.

The first edition of the exclusive series of monthly reports ranked 'vibrancy' in key cities over the four weeks to 15 January 2022, including the crucial festive season.

The findings showed that Leeds was the most vibrant city of the 10 surveyed, with a -0.2% drop in sales compared with the same period in 2019. In second place was Glasgow, followed by Bristol and Birmingham, where restaurant, pub and bar sales held up relatively well in late December and early January.

However, London came at the bottom of the list, having suffered a -19% drop in sales. This was blamed on the continuing work from home culture, and reduced visitor numbers.

According to CGA, “Sales were down on pre-Covid levels in other major British cities. However, separate research has indicated that while visitor numbers have dropped in recent months, average spend has increased slightly, and consumer confidence has increased since the end of 2021.”

CGA’s client director, Chris Jeffrey, commented: “It has been an immensely difficult two years for hospitality businesses in city centres, and these vibrancy figures reveal the damaging impact that Covid constraints have had on footfall and sales in late 2021 and early 2022. With restrictions hopefully now behind us and many workers returning to offices, we should see British cities start to return to pre- Covid norms in consumer activity over the course of this year.”