Stonegate has reported a small, encouraging uplift in sales as workers return to offices, but has warned uncertainty over Covid passports could yet hamper the recovery of the late-night sector it operates in.

Simon Longbottom, CEO, Stonegate Group was commenting as data showed an increase in people returning to offices, albeit still well below pre-pandemic levels.

He said: “As workers return we have seen a small uplift in some city centre areas , including London, albeit the City is going to take some time to recover. Trading is still down on pre-pandemic levels but this increase is an encouraging sign.

“We have also seen a sales uplift within our late night business, however, we await further information from Government regarding the implementation and operational requirements associated with the proposed introduction of Covid passports, as this again may hamper the long-term recovery of the sector.”

Department for Transport figures show in the first week of September, travel on National Rail services and the London Underground was only around 55% of pre-Covid.

There were around two-thirds the number of bus journeys as in the pre-pandemic comparative period.

Travel by car is the only mode that has almost returned to normal, though data from TomTom shows congestion was between 9% and 25% lower than the 2019 average across the six largest UK cities.

Centre for Cities data shows that the majority of city workers are still working from home.

Google’s mobility report meanwhile showed visits to workplaces at the start of September were only around two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels.