Data: The 10 cities that have lost the most sales since Covid hit

London has been hardest hit in terms of lost sales during Covid-19
// London has lost the most sales since Covid hit, with 47 weeks of revenue lost in retail and hospitality between March 2020 and November 2021
// Big cities such as Birmingham, Edinburgh and Cardiff were also badly hit, while smaller towns fared better with Burnley losing just 8 weeks of sales.

London has lost nearly a year in retail sales since Covid began with major cities hit particularly hard by lockdowns, working from home and a lack of tourists.

The capital suffered the most with 47 weeks of sales lost in in-person retail and hospitality between March 2020 and November 2021, compared to 2019 levels.

The Center for Cities said Covid-19 had “leveled” what were historically the most prosperous high streets in the UK.

Birmingham, Edinburgh and Cardiff suffered similar levels of sales decline over the period, according to the think tank’s Cities Outlook 2022 which was compiled using anonymous card transactions.

READ MORE: Data: The 10 cities with the most retail insolvencies since Covid-19

By comparison, cities and towns saw smaller declines in retail and hospitality sales, with Burnley losing the fewest sales in just eight weeks.

Warrington, Huddersfield and Blackpool also lost relatively few sales compared to 2019.

The study, which looked at 52 cities and town centers, showed a sharp increase in the number of vacant commercial premises, with an increase from 1,374 to 2,426 between 2018 and 2020.

Main streets in economically weaker places have also held up better in terms of vacancy rates than larger town centers as they have been buoyed by the emergency economic support provided by the government during the lockdowns.

Despite this trend, Center for Cities chief executive Andrew Carter believes big cities are better placed to recover quickly from Covid.

He said: “The biggest concern is in economically weaker places – mainly in the North and Midlands – where Covid-19 has actually halted their long-term decline.

“To help them avoid a wave of high street closures this year, the government needs to set out how it plans to upskill people and pay to give them the income needed to maintain a thriving high street. Many of these places are within the so-called red wall, so there is a political imperative for the government to act quickly, as well as an economic imperative.

Click here to sign up for the free daily Retail Gazette newsletter

Sallie R. Loera