The National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) is calling for government support as the results of its latest poll show that salons and barbershops are experiencing unprecedented levels of cancellations during their busiest month of the year due to clients having to self-isolate or changing their mind as a result of Plan B and the emergence of the Omicron variant.
In a month which usually sees salon columns fully booked and waiting lists in place, 73% of respondents had experienced cancellations, with 56% reporting a reduction in advance bookings following the recent changes to government guidance. More than half the respondents said that the cancellations had already caused a lot of disruption to their businesses. December is the busiest month of the year for the hair and beauty industry, setting salons and barbershops up financially for the quieter months of the new year. Now many in the industry are under extreme pressure to stay afloat.
28% of businesses also reported disruption in the salon due to staff shortages and staff having to self-isolate.
NHBF chief executive Richard Lambert commented:
“This situation is evolving rapidly, but it’s already clear that the government needs to act before it becomes a crisis.
The industry had shown its resilience and was on the path to recovery, but early indications show that that the combination of Omicron and Plan B are having a drastic effect on bookings and footfall in salons during a time in which the sector relies heavily on cash generated in December to get them through the quieter months in January and February. Many of our Members tell us their finances are still finely balanced, and this sudden fall-away could be devastating.
The government needs to provide targeted financial support to help the industry quickly, whether by reallocating existing resources or making new support available. We are also calling for an increase in the 50% discount on business rates for next year and flexibility on repayments of CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) and bounceback loans to offer much needed support to those suffering financial hardship.”