West of England Businesses Ended 2015 with Sales Increases and High Confidence
Results from Business West’s local business survey of firms across Bristol, Bath and the West of England found that domestic and international sales increased at the end of the year after a downturn in the summer. In addition, almost two thirds of businesses reported that they are confident for the year ahead.
The survey, completed by almost 300 businesses across Bristol, Bath and the West of England in November found that compared to the previous quarter:
- Domestic sales increased by seven points to 45%.
- Export sales rose by four points to 33%.
- Business confidence remained relatively constant at 63%.
However, with marginal decreases in recruitment, cashflow and orders this quarter, and with most major indicators slightly down compared to 12 months ago, challenges still lie ahead.
Commenting on the survey results James Durie, Chief Executive of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative, part of Business West, said:
“These results provide some positive news after we saw decreases across the board in the summer. With domestic and international sales on the up this quarter, you can see why almost two thirds of businesses tell us they are feeling confident.
“Although we have seen a small pick up in the overall economic outlook after slightly disappointing results last quarter, marginal drops in recruitment and cashflow are cause for concern, and with most indicators below levels seen this time last year there are warning signs of potential troubles ahead.
“This research, along with the Chancellor’s warning that the UK faces a ‘cocktail’ of serious threats from a slowing world economy, makes it vital that the government makes 2016 a year of action on fundamental issues such as infrastructure and skills which are holding businesses productivity back.”
The survey findings feed into the national British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) Quarterly Economic Survey, which is Britain’s largest and most authoritative private sector business survey. The findings on a national level show that most key manufacturing and services balances were weaker this quarter, but manufacturing firms fared far worse. This has led Britain’s two-tier growth trend to become further entrenched.