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Hair & Beauty Sector Remains Steady | NHBF State of the Industry Survey

October 20, 2023

The latest National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) quarterly State of the Industry survey shows the sector in a positive position as it generally remains stable.

Whilst the signs of positivity seen in previous surveys from April and July have slowed across some indicators, the situation is overall steady with a slight rise in businesses making a small or good profit (45%) and a similar number of businesses breaking even (42%). What’s more, slightly fewer businesses are making a loss, indicating a continual move in the right direction.

The general trend towards increasing prices continues to even off. Over the previous three months, 55% of businesses raised their prices and a further 51% will do so over the next three months. Reliance on external support continues to stabilise; over half of businesses (56%) are still either partially or completely reliant on Government support. The most positive finding is that three quarters of those surveyed said they are confident in their survival.

However, whilst staffing and recruitment intentions also remain steady, they are still in negative territory – only 27% were definitely or likely to take on new staff in the next three months (similar to 28% in July), with 63% saying that it was either unlikely or impossible for new hires. The lack of experienced staff also continues to be a huge problem for the industry, as outlined by the NHBF Careers at the Cutting-Edge report in May 2022.

While there is not the same headline growth as in the past two quarters, most of the indicators haven’t fallen and some of the net trends show an improvement.  This slower growth might reflect the summer months being a relatively quieter period.  Businesses are still under pressure from all sides including stubbornly high inflation, energy costs, rising wage costs and the lack of availability of experienced staff to grow their business, all of which the NHBF is working with the government on to ensure we provide real solutions, solid support and advice for our Members.” – Rosina Robson, NHBF Director of Policy and Public Affairs

Rosina continues: “Support on business rates and for energy bills has been very welcome over the last year and we call on the government to renew the valuable 75% discount for Retail into 2024/25 also. This would give certainty to sector businesses and enable them to grow and provide valuable employment.”

Local Data Company data published in September shows that in the first half of 2023, there was a rise in the number of barbers, beauty salons and nail bars on the high street, yet a decline in the number of hairdressers.

The NHBF State of the Industry survey received 530 responses between 11 and 25 September 2023. It gathered views from a good representation of businesses in the personal care sector across all areas, including city centres, town centres and villages in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Respondents included salon or barbershop owners, chair or room renters, home-based business owners, mobile or freelance practitioners, employers and the self-employed.

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