Birmingham is UK’s ‘most vibrant’ city second time in a row, says report - with hospitality powering recovery

Hospitality sector has been pushing economic recovery in Birmingham and other cities

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Birmingham earned another feather for its hat as it has been named as the “most vibrant” city in the UK, according to a new report. It’s the second time the UK’s second city has received the accolade for a second successive period.

The Top Cities report - by hospitality research experts CGA powered by NielsenIQ and connectivity solutions provider Wireless Social - placed Birmingham above Glasgow. Its findings show that restauarnts, pubs and bars are driving post-COVID cities.

Birmngham’s performance has been driven by a significant jump in sales from 2% growth to 12% versus last month’s rankings. But the analysts have warned that inflation and strikes could hit recovery.

London was at the bottom of the list at no.10 for the second period in a row. This is because it is one of three cities which is recording sales below the same period in pre-Covid times in 2019. Manchester climbed two places to third position since the city has had a significant jump in sales from 2% growth to 12% versus last month’s rankings.

The top 10 UK vibrant cities

  1. Birmingham
  2. Glasgow
  3. Manchester
  4. Bristol
  5. Leicester
  6. Edinburgh
  7. Liverpool
  8. Sheffield
  9. Leeds
  10. London
Cocktail Club opens on Temple Street, Birmingham Temple StreetCocktail Club opens on Temple Street, Birmingham Temple Street
Cocktail Club opens on Temple Street, Birmingham Temple Street

Hospitality driving cities post-Covid

The hospitality industry is powering Britain’s economic recovery after Covid but inflation, rail strikes, and other factors are affecting the push, said CGA.

The report states that logins in the ten cities has also marginally improved over the last few months. However, high levels of inflation mean average sales are significantly down in real terms, and city-centre footfall remains well below pre-pandemic comparatives. Combined with constant cost pressures, the analysts state that this highlights the ongoing assistance the hospitality sector needs in terms of government support.

CGA client director Chris Jeffreysaid: “Restaurants, pubs and bars have been hugely impressive in pulling sales ahead of their pre-COVID levels, and they are instrumental in attracting people back to Britain’s big cities. But this recovery is at risk of stagnation from the soaring costs in energy, food, property and other key areas for businesses and consumers alike.

“Rail strikes are another major threat to city-centre spending at the moment, and ongoing labour shortages and supply chain issues are adding to the headwinds. Hospitality can power the economic growth the government is seeking, but only if it receives sustained support to get through the current storm.”


For the report, CGA’s sales data is combined with device log-in data from Wireless Social to provide a ‘vibrancy’ ranking of Britain’s ten most populous cities over the four weeks to 24 September 2022.

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