We hope that the bank holiday weekend brought some much needed cheer for our ailing hospitality industry although two reports we have read suggest the future is still bleak.
One report stated that 150 pubs in England & Wales closed in the first three months of this year, following 153 closures in the last quarter of last year. These figures are up from an average of 30 pubs per month during 2022. This comes as no surprise given the high energy & food costs and the problems of finding staff. Undoubtedly a number of these would also have been facing increased finance costs as a result of the increases to base rates.
The second report we read referred to retail sales figures for March that showed a welcome increase in total sales of 5.1% over March 2022 but one of the drivers in that was home accessories and furniture. This implies that people are improving their homes rather than move but analysts stated that this also reflected the fact that people are entertaining more at home, rather than going out – so yet another blow to our hospitality industry.
On a positive note, we were pleased to read that the IMF believes interest rates will return to pre-pandemic levels of sub 1%. However, given the way the Bank have acted we struggle to see this happening in the short term and so expect many more months of pain for UK businesses.
If you are involved with, or know of any business struggling financially we suggest that you talk to us.
The directors of SKSi look at a formal insolvency process as the last resort – not the first. It is their long held belief – borne out with proven experience – that seeking advice at the first sign of financial pressures will lead to a more favourable outcome. Conversely, doing nothing and hoping the problem will go away is far more likely to lead to a call from the bank and an insolvency process.
We are always available for an initial zero cost assessment which can be arranged by contacting Fred Satow.