This week’s strike action to cost retail and hospitality £100 million in lost sales

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Strike action could cost UK retail and hospitality as much as £100 million in lost sales this week, UKHospitality chief Kate Nicholls has told City A.M.

On Wednesday 1 February, 500,000 teachers, train drivers and civil servants are expected to walk out in what will be the biggest planned industrial action for over a decade. A further train strike on Friday 3 February will see much of the UK’s railway network shut down.

Nicholls said: “The situation is entirely avoidable but provides yet another pressure for a sector contending with soaring energy costs, workforce challenges and dampening consumer confidence. 

“Hospitality continues to suffer as collateral damage as a result of this dispute, so it’s vital that all parties reach an agreement as soon as possible to prevent unnecessary damage to businesses at this increasingly challenging time.”

Earlier this month, industry association Bira warned the ongoing strike action was damaging the industry and wider economy. CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “This year started with the continuation of the disruption caused by train strikes, and the threat of strikes in other sectors of the economy.

“I respect the right for people to strike. At the same time, I am urging the key stakeholders to find agreement in the near future. Strikes are damaging to the economy through lost productivity and they are poor for consumer confidence – all of which damages consumer spending.

“The high street is a challenging place for businesses at the moment and so any form of disruption can be very damaging to hardworking independent retailers. I would therefore urge people to shop locally if the strikes are forcing them to stay at home.”