Hotel tycoon Surinder Arora had a plan to attract business and leisure travellers back to his Sofitel at Heathrow airport: a £179 “test and rest” deal, where guests could enjoy a night’s stay and a Covid-19 test before flying, with breakfast thrown in.
Occupancy levels at his Arora Group’s 15 hotels are languishing at a fraction of pre-Covid rates — 10%, in some cases. Arora, 62, had been hoping his initiative would give passengers the confidence to travel again.
That now looks like a distant dream. The prime minister’s announcement last night that England was about to be plunged into a second lockdown — with holidays off the table — has thrown the travel sector into a new crisis.
The aviation and tourism industry was already in the midst of its worst downturn since the Second World War. For Heathrow, the impact of the shutdown has been seismic. In normal
Spending on chocolate has soared by £50m year on year, powered by sales of chocolate bars bought in supermarkets to eat at home.
The increase in sales of multipacks and large “sharing bars” has offset a dip in sales of single bars, often impulse buys to eat on the go, from newsagents and other outlets.
While the £50m sales increase is only 3% up on the total value of chocolate sales, the amount of chocolate eaten is likely to have risen by two or three times that level because the kind of chocolate bought in supermarkets is so much cheaper.
Sales of multipacks of chocolate bars in supermarkets are up by more than a fifth, according to analysts at research group Kantar.
But the biggest increase has come from large chocolate blocks, sales of which are up nearly 46% in supermarket outlets.