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Beauty businesses suffer sales lull as bookings fail to return to pre-pandemic levels

Gaelle Walker
15 July 2021

Sales and profits are down for three in five UK personal care businesses, as bookings fail to return to their pre-pandemic levels, latest data from the National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) has revealed.

The lull comes in the wake of a spike in bookings seen in May and early June - when close contact businesses were allowed to re-open following the easing of restrictions.

One in four personal care businesses are currently not making any kind of profit, while 55% said they had no savings, should future lockdowns occur, the survey of 1,750 personal care businesses also showed.

After the initial busy period post lockdown, clients had “not returned to the hair and beauty sector in the same numbers as before the pandemic, particularly in the beauty sector where trade relies more heavily on client experience and social events,” the NHBF said - with 60% of the sector reporting business as being “quieter or really quiet” at present.

More than a third of all personal care businesses and 36% of beauty businesses specifically, also said that they were completely reliant on government support to remain in business.

The figures highlighted the urgent need for an extension of government financial support, NHBF chief executive Richard Lambert said.

“Ours is a pretty resilient sector and has begun to navigate the tapering of support from 1 July.

“However, we are unsure how businesses can be expected to meet these additional outgoings with no cash reserves, significant debt and operational restrictions continuing to limit the ability to generate income.

 “We are asking for an immediate reintroduction of the Job Retention Bonus and restraint on further increases to the National Minimum Wage and apprenticeship rate until the sector’s recovery is well-established.

“Plus, we need a commitment to provide further financial support should any of the four nations need to reintroduce lockdown measures.”


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