41% of beauty and hair businesses are busy after difficult winter period

The National Hair & Beauty Federation’s (NHBF) latest State of the Industry survey reveals businesses are seeing a slight improvement in trade, with 41% of businesses reporting being either busy or steady, up from just 13% in January. 

Whilst this news offers a certain level of hope in the industry, there are clear signs that businesses are still trying to recover from a particularly difficult winter, as a result of both Covid-19 and the rising costs for staff, energy and supplies.

44% of businesses who took part in the quarterly survey are currently breaking even, with 30% making a small or good profit, up from just 19% in January. Down from 40%, 27% of businesses are either making small or substantial loss.

Whilst these numbers are a significant improvement from January, they are not back where they were in September, when we saw more confident signs of recovery after the pandemic.

The number of businesses relying on external support has reduced from 81% in January, with 58% of businesses currently either partially or completely reliant on Government support. Whilst this number has decreased, the data shows that the majority of businesses in the hair and beauty sector are still relying on external support to keep trading.

Consequently, 43% of respondents have raised their prices over the last three months, with a further 58% set to do so over the next three months.  Businesses are also cutting back on apprentices to help stay afloat, only 9% of respondents said that they were definitely or likely to take on an apprentice in the next three months.

In April it was highlighted that one of the main reason’s businesses wouldn’t take on an apprentice is because of the lack of government support.

In general, confidence in the sector has increased slightly, 57% of businesses are now confident of their survival compared to just 40% in January, although this is still lower than 63% in September.

The next steps

As a direct response to the data found from the survey, the NHBF are calling for changes to be made to help the industry recover.

The association are asking for an increase in the 50% discount on business rates for 2022-23 and flexibility on repayments of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, as well as bounce back loans to offer support to those suffering financially.

They are also asking for the reintroduction of the Job Retention Bonus until autumn 2022 to help sustain jobs, and the introduction of more attractive apprenticeship incentives to employers, making it more financially feasible for them to recruit and retain apprentices.

Richard Lambert, the NHBF chief executive said “After a difficult winter for the sector, trade and confidence levels are similar to where they were in July 2021. We are grateful for all the government support provided to the sector to date. However, continued support from each national government is needed through the recovery phase, particularly in the form of incentives for apprenticeships to fuel the future talent pipeline of the personal care sector.”