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UK salon owners to lose £124m per week under new restrictions

The National Hair & Beauty Federation is warning that the government may have just placed the final nail in the coffin for already struggling salons and barbershops without urgent and targeted financial support. This stark warning comes as the new Tier and Level 4 restrictions are set to cost hair and beauty businesses across the UK more than £124million per week in lost income, killing off many previously profitable businesses, and making thousands of people unemployed. (see table below)

The NHBF Key Industry Statistics 2020 report demonstrates the continued growth of the hair and beauty industry prior to COVID-19. This is in contrast with November NHBF data which indicated 62% of salon owners could not be sure their business would survive until the end of the financial year in April 2021, and almost a third of that number (18%) explicitly sure they would have to close.

The report, compiled in exclusive association with the Local Data Company (LDC), shows that at the beginning of the year barbershops, beauty salons and nail salons were the top three retail categories that saw the highest growth in the UK – above supermarkets, coffee shops, takeaways and pizza shops.

According to the Office for National Statistics there are nearly 45,000 hair and beauty salon businesses in the UK (a rise of over 1,000 since last year), which generated over £8bn in turnover in 2018, up from £7.5bn in 2017.

And the industry had continued to prop up ailing high streets, with hair and beauty businesses pre COVID-19 having higher survival rates after five years than many other sectors, in particular nail salons whose survival rate after five years was 69%.

Richard Lambert, NHBF chief executive said, “The Key Industry Statistics report paints a picture of a strong and growing industry with business survival rates bucking the decline of the high street. It is characterised by a high percentage of female entrepreneurs, supporting young people into careers and its posiive approach to flexible working.

However, this was before the coronavirus pandemic and we know from our recent targeted surveys that the majority of hair and beauty professionals are struggling to recoup their losses from lockdowns, implementing social distancing measures and the costs of increased PPE. Whilst we appreciate these are all necessary, the sector has not received any additional financial support such as those gifted to the arts, the sports sector, leisure or hospitality. Businesses simply cannot continue on this basis and we are continuing our pressure on the government to recognise this. Financial help to salons and professionals during this difficult time will be the only way to ensure the hair and beauty sector can return to where it was at the beginning of 2020.”

Cost per region:

RegionNumber of SalonsLost Revenue Per Week
London7,015 £16million
South East5,425£35million
North East2,020£5million
North West5,425£17million
East Midlands2,980£11million
West Midlands3,815£14million
Total England £98million
Northern Ireland1,560£3million
Total UK £124million

The full statistical tables are available free to NHBF Members, or for £250 to non-members.

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