Trade in January has been mixed for the sector this year, with some operators revealing it is as expected, according to a flash survey of the Morning Advertiser readers. Of the 137 respondents, almost three in 10 (28%) of operators revealed trade is currently as expected. However, a quarter (25%) of those surveyed said trade was a little better than anticipated while a fifth (20%) said it was marginally worse than predicted.
Jeremy Hunt has warned it is "unlikely" that there will be room for any "significant" tax cuts in the Budget, advises BBC. The chancellor has been under pressure recently from some in his party to cut taxes to stimulate the UK economy. But Mr Hunt said that a pledge to halve the rate of inflation "is the best tax cut right now". He admitted the UK was going through "a difficult patch" but insisted the country "can get through it and we can get to the other side".
Real estate lender Mera Investment Management has provided a £12m co-loan with Ortus Secured Finance to Red Lion Holdings, the owner of a collection of pubs and inns located across the South East, reports Insider Media Limited. The loan is secured against a five-pub portfolio and will be used to refinance the existing banking facilities and provide flexible capital to support the next stage of Red Lion's business plan.
UKHospitality has called for the removal of the late-night levy after figures showed nightclubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are responsible for 42% of customer spending after 6pm. The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that there is strong public demand for the night-time economy, which employs 8.7m people. However, the sector has lost 800,000 staff over the past six years, which UKHospitality called a "worrying trend", reports The Caterer.
The boss of City Pub Group has hailed the return of the Friday night pint after the London-based chain reported a jump in revenues. City Pub Group CEO Clive Watson told the Standard: "We've certainly seen Fridays get stronger - people are coming into the office more and more, and even if you're working from home people still like to come into the City on a Friday evening to have fun." But the group warned it had suffered a blow from a spate of industrial action, recording a £750k hit from rail strikes, which wiped out around 3.5% of its revenues in the fourth quarter.
Nearly 20,000 hospitality businesses are reported as being under 'significant financial distress', according to Begbies Traynor Red Flag Alert report. The research highlights the intense strain an increasing number of companies are under as they are hit by rising labour and material costs, higher energy bills and an economy likely heading into recession, reports Big Hospitality. In total, some 610,405 businesses across the UK rated as being in 'significant financial distress', of which 18,905 are in the restaurant and bars category.
London-based chophouse brand Blacklock will open its fifth and biggest restaurant to date this spring in Canary Wharf, reports Big Hospitality.