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Grim Christmas for the hospitality and leisure sector expected

13 10 20 Grim Christmas for the hospitality and leisure sector expected hero v2

Following the Government’s announcement of a new three tiered system of lockdown to try to contain a second wave of the COVID-19 cases, Colliers International’s Head of Alternative Markets James Shorthouse shared his reaction.

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that pubs and bars in areas under the Tier 3 “very high” local COVID alert level would have to close, and could only remain open if they operated as a restaurant. Ambiguity remains over restrictions on gyms, leisure centres and casinos, although these have been told to close in Liverpool which is the first area in England to be categorised as very-high.

“After weeks of uncertainty, and inconsistent introduction of local lockdowns the Government had the chance this week to take the initiative in the battle against COVID,” James said. “The three tiers had been widely trailed, and the leisure and hospitality sectors were braced for the new rules, but uncertainty still prevails.

“Operators are resigned to a difficult few months with restricted trading hours and additional rules around who and what can be served, resulting in significant financial hardships. There is a deep sense of injustice that the hospitality, sport and leisure sectors are being singled out as being primarily responsible for the spread of the virus, but with limited science or evidence to back this up. Indeed, with fitness and health being a key concern of the Prime Minister, following his own experience of the virus, prohibiting gyms and sports facilities from operating will be opportunity lost.

“I have no doubt that the sector will act responsibly and implement the new rules, but in return the Government must be forthcoming with additional financial support for companies and employees. The scope of the Job Support Scheme remains unclear, and the Government has so far failed to offer any fiscal intervention into the ever growing mountain of unpaid rents and business debts, not even an extension to current temporary waivers. Without additional targeted support the loss of peak December trading may prove to be the final straw for large numbers of businesses across the UK, especially in the Midlands and North.

“Time will tell whether the new system of lockdowns is effective, or if we do need to move to a full lockdown for a short period, but whatever happens over the next few weeks, feedback from our clients suggests they are expecting it to be a grim Christmas for the hospitality and leisure sectors, and its customers.”

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James Shorthouse

Head of Alternative Markets

Licensed and Leisure

London - West End

James is one of the UK's leading advisers in Pub, Bar, Restaurant and Leisure sectors. He has worked in the sector for over 30 years, a period during which the sector has undergone enormous changes in its operational, ownership and regulatory structures.

Acting on behalf of major operators, investors and banks on portfolios and high value single assets, James' operator clients include Greene King, Ei group, Casual Dining Group, and Novus. On the investor side, for many years he advised Nomura and Terra Firma, worked closely with Cerberus on all of its leisure sector investments and has recently advised Patron Capital, Stellex and NewRiver.

Within Colliers International, James heads up the UK Licensed & Leisure team and also runs the businesses Alternative Markets Division which encompasses Hotels, Automotive, Healthcare, and other specialist Leisure teams.

Throughout his career James has advised major UK and International lenders, both on new lending and on developing and executing exit strategies for distressed lending positions. His team have worked with a number of F&B operators to rationalise their portfolios and have advised landlords on how to preserve value and retain tenants in difficult times.

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Kim Inam

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I'm a communications professional who has previously worked as a journalist for eight years covering a broad range of topics including politics, crime, health and housing in north London. In recent years I have worked in corporate communications for local authorities across London  and joined Colliers in October 2019, initially providing maternity leave cover.

I provide strategic public relations advice to various business lines within the UK organisation to secure recognition for their work in the property press as well as key target media, and work with our experts to produce thought leadership pieces which are of interest to our clients and colleagues within the commercial real estate sector. In addition, alongside colleagues in the PR and wider communications team, I provide media and social media training for our in-house experts to prepare them for media opportunities and raise their personal brand within the sector.

As well as supporting various teams within the UK business, I also I curate and edit regular content for the blog, which drives credible business leads to our experts.


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