Spending in Lancashire’s key towns and cities rose sharply following the re-opening of pubs and non-essential shops last month and has remained above pre-pandemic levels, new figures show.
The figures - analysed by the insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 - show that Blackburn and Preston were amongst the top ten in the country in terms of spending recovery following the easing of restrictions on 12 April. In Blackburn, spending was at 117% of pre-pandemic levels in the week ending 24 April, while in Preston it was at 112% of previous levels. Burnley (110%) and Blackpool (107%) also performed strongly. In line with patterns in recent months, Liverpool (95%) and Manchester (73%) lagged behind, although spending in both cities was at the highest level since the pre-Christmas period.
The figures from the Centre for Citiesanalyse the UK’s largest regional centres. Allan Cadman, North West chair of R3 and a partner at Poppleton & Appleby, said: “These figures are welcome news and could indicate that, with further easing of restrictions starting from this week, we could be in for a ‘vaccine bounce’.
“However we are not out of the woods yet. Uncertainty remains as to when the economy can fully re-open, some consumers remain cautious and many businesses are still not operating at full capacity. Those that have survived could run into cashflow problems due to the cost of re-opening, restocking and meeting increased demand, as well as facing the burden of having to repay loans and deferred tax. We are also yet to see the full impact of the ‘Indian variant’ of Covid.
“In the months ahead, it will be critical for businesses to monitor expenses and manage cashflow carefully. Anyone who is worried about their business finances should seek professional advice as early as possible.”