Business Briefing

Shoppers look to make Easter a celebration to remember

Small firms hit by Brexit ‘nightmare’, tourism suffers $4.5trn loss, and other breaking business news

1

Retail

A tree is not just for Christmas - it’s for Easter too  

An egg hunt is a popular tradition over the Easter weekend, but for many British consumers the search is also on for items such as Easter trees, decorations and outdoor accessories. 

With families and friends able to get together for the first time in months, Easter celebrations are “set to rival Christmas – even down to the tree”, says the BBC

On its website Sainsbury’s has seen a 977% increase in online searches for Easter trees, compared to the same period last year. And the supermarket chain says Easter decoration searches are also up by 948%.

As well as Easter trees, Etsy has seen an increase in searches for outdoor items. The online crafts marketplace has reported a 409% increase in searches for gardening items and a 328% rise for fire pits. 

Meanwhile, sales of barbecues and garden furniture at Asda have risen by more than 400% year-on-year as consumers prepare their outside areas for visitors, the BBC added.

2

Retail

Shops able to stay open to 10pm when restrictions ease

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is urging Brits to “go have fun” and spend money when lockdown restrictions are further eased next month. Non-essential shops in England will be allowed to extend their opening hours until 10pm from Monday to Saturday and this will provide a “much-needed boost” for retailers, the government said. 

Shops, pubs and restaurants will reopen on 12 April and Sunak wants to see people “get out there” and “help drive growth”, The Times reports. “We are ultimately a consumption-led economy… driven by people going out and shopping and seeing their friends and going out to theatres and things,” said Sunak. “So it’s important for us to get back to that.”

3

Hospitality 

Millions reserve tables at pubs and restaurants

Next month’s date is also etched into the minds of hungry and thirsty consumers looking to go out and enjoy a meal or a pint. And for the two weeks after 12 April there has been a “huge surge in bookings” for outdoor tables, the Evening Standard reports. 

According to research by hospitality jobs website Caterer.com, millions of people have been making reservations at pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating areas. Caterer.com spokesman Neil Pattison said the research shows “just how eager people are to get back into hospitality venues”.

4

Tourism

$4.5trn loss for the travel industry in 2020

The “devastating” impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the global tourism industry has been revealed in new research published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). In its annual economic impact report, the WTTC said the sector suffered a “massive loss” of almost $4.5trn (£3.25trn) in 2020. 

Tourism’s contribution to GDP dropped a “staggering 49.1%” compared to the overall global economy which dropped by just 3.7% last year. And as the pandemic “ripped through the heart” of travel and tourism, more than 62 million jobs were lost, representing a drop of 18.5%.

5

Economy 

Small business exports hit by Brexit ‘nightmare’

Small businesses have suffered a marked drop in exports to the EU in the three months since the end of the Brexit transition period. In a survey of more than 1,400 small firms, the Federation of Small Businesses said one in five (23%) exporters have temporarily halted sales to EU customers and a further 4% have already decided to stop selling into the bloc permanently.

Businesses have been beset by a “nightmare” combination of mounting costs and paperwork as well as delivery delays, The Guardian reports. “We’ve been sold a dud,” said Sharon da Costa, managing director of Fighting Films, a Bristol-based producer of judo movies. “If it weren’t for Covid, people would be shouting from the rooftops.”

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