Pubs group Fullers has revealed sales took a heavy hit from the rise of the Omicron variant, as its venues emptied following the implementation of Plan B restrictions.
The company said it had seen steady growth throughout the year, as restrictions eased over the summer and the Euros drew in customers.
But by December, this had reversed.
Sales reached 90% of pre-pandemic levels following the ending of restrictions in July last year but by December this fell to just 72%, the company said.
Fullers said: “The enhanced Covid restrictions introduced by the Government in response to Omicron, including the guidance to work from home, impacted our trade during the important festive and new year period. Office Christmas parties were cancelled, and City workers stayed at home.”
Bosses said since the new year, this has improved slightly and is expected to rise further as work from home rules end.
Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “We are seeing an improvement in trade and expect that to quicken further now that the Government has lifted Covid restrictions.
“We saw sales rise steadily in the City (of London) after previous lockdowns, and recent trading patterns suggest that there is a strong desire among many workers to return to office working.
“In addition, we expect to see a rise in the number of international tourists, which will benefit our London pubs and those in other tourist destinations.”