Glasgow most vibrant UK city as hospitality revitalises city centres

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Solid sales growth in restaurants, pubs and bars has helped Britain’s regional city centres to recover their vibrancy in the first six months of 2022, according to the latest ‘Top Cities’ research from CGA and Wireless, and over the first half of the year, Glasgow has secured the highest average ranking. Bristol and Birmingham rank second and third on average.

While it emerged from COVID restrictions more slowly than England, Scotland’s On Premise has returned strongly since the end of its lockdowns, with consistently more check-ins than other cities and, in the most recent four-week block to 2 July, Edinburgh is second, having moved steadily up the rankings this year.

CGA client director Chris Jeffrey said, “Britain’s cities were badly hit by two years of COVID restrictions, but this research shows how hospitality can help revitalise them. While so much retail activity moves online, restaurants, pubs and bars are giving people reasons to visit cities, and keeping their central areas vibrant. However, operators face huge inflationary pressures, which is making real-terms sales growth difficult, and the cost-of-living crisis is constricting consumers’ spending. Hospitality can continue to fuel Britain’s economic revival, but it deserves proper support from government to help sustain fragile businesses over this challenging period.”

Julian Ross, founder and CEO of Wireless Social, said, “The first six months of the year have been a hugely welcome return to form for hospitality businesses, with footfall and sales data approaching and, in some cases, exceeding 2019 levels in certain parts of the country.”

The series of ‘Top Cities: Vibrancy Ranking’ reports is based on a combination of sales data from CGA’s Managed Volume Pool of more than 8,000 pubs, bars and restaurants, and Wireless Social’s guest data gathered from more than one million log-ins. It provides the most accurate assessment yet of the vibrancy of Britain’s key city markets for eating and drinking out.

Britain’s 10 biggest cities, ranked by vibrancy

(Average rankings in the first six four-week periods of 2022.)

1. Glasgow

2. Bristol

3. Birmingham

4. Leicester

5. Manchester

6. Leeds

7. Edinburgh

8. Liverpool

9. Sheffield

10. London

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