Decline of the high street
Retail margins have fallen by almost two percentage points since 2013 due to competition, persistent price pressures and declining space productivity. Multiple high street retailers, including John Lewis, Topshop and Debenhams, have closed down stores due to pandemic-induced difficulties, as almost one-in-five shopping centre units now lie empty, with many retailers opting to move towards online sales instead.
The hospitality industry
Meanwhile, the hospitality sector was one of the hardest hit, experiencing a contraction of 41.7% in 2020 due to the pandemic. With the resumption of domestic holidays and the reopening of restaurants in April 2021, the accommodation and food services sector had a strong recovery in Q2 2021, with a quarterly increase in GVA by 87.6%, or approximately £11.6 billion.