Business Briefing

‘Great British summer’ ahead for hospitality?

Yacht quarantine tourism in Thailand, a tasty profit for Domino’s, and other breaking business news

1

Hospitality

Paving the way for more outdoor eating

Al fresco dining will be on the menu for millions of hungry Brits this summer thanks to newly announced government plans to extend temporary pavement licences for a further 12 months to September 2022.

A relaxation of rules allowing pubs and restaurants to operate as takeaways will also remain in place, as part of the push to bolster the hospitality industry and high streets in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

While good weather can’t be guaranteed, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that he has written to local councils calling for their support to deliver “a great British summer” by supporting the measures in a “pragmatic way to help support the high street, businesses and jobs, once restrictions allow them to do so”. 

Under Boris Johnson’s provisional roadmap for ending lockdown, hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors from no earlier than 12 April.

2

Economy 

Bailey: post-Covid work and spending changes are permanent

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has told a webinar that he believes “there is light at the end of the tunnel” for the UK economy - but is predicting permanent shifts in working and spending patterns. 

Speaking at a virtual event organised by the Resolution Foundation think tank, Bailey suggested that the economy would need to keep adapting to changes triggered by the Covid lockdowns. 

“We will work more from home than we used to and shop more online because new habits will persist to some degree,” he said. And “my best guess is that we will see some persistence, not full persistence but not a full reversion to pre-Covid either”.

3

Tourism 

Thailand makes waves with yacht quarantine

International travellers visiting Thailand will be able to stay on a yacht during their mandatory two-week coronavirus quarantine, the government has announced. 

The plans to use yachts for quarantine is “aimed at reviving the country’s struggling tourism industry”, the BBC reports, and is expected to generate the equivalent of £42m in tourism revenue.

The launch of the initiative comes after the Tourism Authority of Thailand announced in January that visitors could quarantine on one of five golf courses in the country.

4

Retail

Sainsbury’s warns of national pet food shortage

Dog and cat owners across the UK are facing a national shortage in pet food pouches that could continue throughout this year, Sainsbury’s has announced.

Which brands are affected has not been disclosed, but the supermarket told The Sun that it was seeing “an increased demand for pet food pouches” and was “working hard to maintain stock levels”.

In an email to customers, Sainsbury’s said: “We’re sorry if you're not able to find your usual product at Sainsbury’s. We’re working hard to resolve this. We think the issue will be ongoing through the year, but we hope to get them back onto shelves as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, Tesco told the paper that demand for branded cat food had been particularly high over the past year, while Asda and Morrisons had yet to respond to questions about the feared shortages.

5

Food & Beverage

‘Lockdown pizza boom’ delivers profit for Domino’s 

Shares in Domino’s Pizza increased by 12.1% this morning after the chain reported strong full-year results. With customers spending the majority of their time at home over the past 12 months, a “lockdown pizza boom” has seen the company’s underlying profit before tax reach £101.2m,  Yahoo! Finance reports - an increase of £2.4m. 

Domino’s CEO Dominic Paul said: “I am pleased with the performance we’ve delivered this year. We’ve worked successfully in partnership with our franchisees to continue to operate safely through the various lockdowns and play our part in feeding the nation during the pandemic.”

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