• Paul Kelson

Retail business confidence bounces back as lockdown lifts

The proportion of UK small businesses predicting growth has almost doubled in three months, according to new research, as retailers rebuild confidence following the Coronavirus lockdown.

Source ONS

Data from Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found that the percentage of retail businesses predicting growth in the next three months grew from 21 per cent to 27 per cent.

Following last quarter’s report, which saw the percentage of small business owners predicting growth plummeting from 39 per cent to just 14 per cent amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the new findings show the highest quarter-on-quarter rise in five years.

The research also suggests that smaller, more agile enterprises will be the fastest to adapt to the UK’s re-emergence from lockdown.

Small businesses that had been trading for less than five years (35 per cent) and those that employed 10-49 employees (37 per cent) were most likely to predict business growth for the next three months.

Commenting on the findings, Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance commented: “The latest Hitachi Capital research findings are remarkable for both the scale and the speed of the revival in small business confidence. We knew last quarter that small business confidence would fall as lockdown started and the scale of the fall was a concern, particularly the steep rise in the number of business owners fearing for their survival.

He added: “Our new research shows what an immediate and positive impact the easing of lockdown has had on the small business community. Whilst bigger businesses are having to adjust and adapt at a slower pace, small business confidence across the UK has bounced back and as the engine room of the British economy, today’s figures can give us confidence that small businesses will lead the nation’s effort to rebuild the economy and secure growth.”

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