There are now nearly 25,000 fewer licensed premises open in the UK than there were before the coronavirus lockdown, a drop of 21.7%, according to CGA and AlixPartners.

Their latest Market Recovery Monitor has shown that just over 90,000 premises around Britain had returned to trading by the end of September, a net increase of nearly 4,000 sites in the month, but the openings were significantly less than those seen in August (15,500).

The number of sites currently trading compares to the 115,000 licensed premises recorded by CGA in March.

Pubs have been much quicker to reopen than restaurants, with more than nine in ten back trading, but with ongoing measures especially impacting late-night operators, just 73.2% of all known bars and 65.2% of nightclubs have reopened.

In the restaurant sector, 87.3% of casual dining venues have reopened, but with many brands turning to CVAs or administration procedures, there are now 1,200 fewer sites than there were in March.

Independent operators seem to be suffering more than most, with just 73.3% of independents having reopened compared to 91.7% of managed sites, equating to 21,000 fewer independents in the market.

In London, three quarters (75.6%) of all sites are open, well down on other major cities including Manchester (83.6%), Liverpool (85.6%) and Edinburgh (82.3%).

“Britain now has around 25,000 fewer licensed premises than it did before the pandemic, and the big question is how much of that shortfall will ever be recovered,” said Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA.

“While there are encouraging signs in some parts of the market, it is clear that capacity is closely following the pattern of suppressed consumer demand. August was a strong month of recovery for hospitality in both site numbers and trading, but these figures show that momentum has stalled. Very damaging new restrictions in Scotland and areas of England will undoubtedly weaken the market further, and sustained government support is urgently needed if the industry is to protect sites and jobs over the autumn.”