Hospitality could be experiencing a slowing in the recovery of consumer activity, weekly data compiled by the ONS has suggested. Compiled from several sources, the data revealed that card spending on social activities such as eating out and travel had fallen back since peaking in early August. In addition, retail footfall has fallen for the first week since mid-June. However according to OpenTable data, seated diners remain a third higher than the equivalent week in 2019 unchanged compared with the previous week.

High street

In the period from 19 July 2021 (when most legal restrictions in England were lifted) to the latest week, the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners has risen by 19 percentage points, from 116% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019, to 134%.

The UK seven-day average estimate of seated diners has remained above the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019 since the week ending 17 May 2021 (following the reopening of indoor hospitality in England on 17 May 2021). In the period since this reopening to the latest week, the average estimate of UK seated diners was 130% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019.

Other data compiled by the ONS supports the view of a potential plateau in consumer activity being reached. Card spending on social activities such as eating out and travel reached a peak of 95% of its February 2020 average in early August but has since slipped back to 91% by August 19.

Meanwhile, UK retail footfall, as compiled by Springboard, indicates levels were at 80% of the equivalent week of 2019 in the week to 21 August 2021, the first week where footfall has fallen since the week to 19 June 2021

In the latest week to 21 August 2021, overall retail footfall was at 80% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019. Comparing retail locations, footfall at retail parks remained the strongest relative to pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels, at 97% of its equivalent 2019 level.

However, the corresponding figures for shopping centres and high streets were 75% and 74%, respectively.

Throughout most of the pandemic, footfall at retail parks has consistently been strongest when compared with other retail locations, relative to their 2019 levels.