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Report highlights “fragile future” of UK hair and beauty

Gaelle Walker
20 April 2021

Almost half of UK hair and beauty salons are unsure if their businesses will survive until the scheduled end of social distancing on 21 June, latest data from the National Hair and Beauty Federation (NHBF) has revealed.

Despite the easing of some lockdown restrictions in England and Wales, the NHBF’s latest State of the Industry survey revealed a “fragile future” for hair and beauty.

The challenges of fixed outgoings and an inability to diversify and generate income during the most recent lockdown had left many businesses with no cash reserves, growing debt and on the brink of closure, the NHBF said.

Richard Lambert, NHBF chief executive, said: “Financial stability will be the key to returning to profit and stability.

“Hopefully most hair & beauty businesses who have been able to return to work in the last few weeks will have enjoyed record income.

“However, they need the chance to get their head above water.

“As things stand, they’ll have to start repaying rent arrears and the debts and loans accrued over the last year just when business rates relief and furlough come to an end.

“Tackling this tsunami of financial obligations under long term social distancing requirements will scotch any chance for the industry to be profitable.

“It will be even less likely that businesses will have the resources, capacity or financial ability to take on or keep apprentices, putting the future skills of the sector in real jeopardy.”

The NHBF is recommending that social distancing measures should be phased out as soon as it is safe to do so and that VAT is temporarily cut for personal care businesses.

It is also calling for easier access to support grants and an extension to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

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