Retail in the United Kingdom received an unexpected boost when the government’s recent initiative to help the struggling hospitality sector was rolled out.
The “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme was designed to encourage citizens to go out to diner, and patronize struggling restaurants. Restaurants and cafes give diners 50% off their meal, and the discount incurred by the business is subsidized by the government.
The plan worked. UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said, "With at least 35 million meals served up in the first two weeks alone, that is equivalent to over half of the UK taking part and supporting local jobs in the hospitality sector” (bbc.com).
The unexpected benefit was, with more consumers out of their homes and back in commercial shopping districts, retail saw an increase in foot traffic. Week-to-week numbers showed a 9.1% increase in footfall for UK retailers (though overall it is still down compared to this same time last year).
As consumers return to making in-store purchases, we’re seeing e-commerce revenue levels return to what they were pre-pandemic, according to the latest Insights data.
The question is, now that the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme is over (it officially ended August 31), how will brick-and-mortar retail fare?