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SMEs feel festive cheer with bumper Christmas trading prediction

By CreditMan Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nine out of ten (87 per cent) small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK are expecting Christmas trading to reach or exceed levels set in 2012, according to a survey by leading independent funder, Bibby Financial Services (BFS).

The survey of 1,000 SMEs across key industrial sectors, including B2B suppliers, found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) are expecting sales this Christmas to be higher than the same period last year, despite warnings from some economists that this year may be tough for retailers.

Edward Winterton, commercial director at Bibby Financial Services, said: “Boosted by further economic growth in the third quarter of the year, it is encouraging to see that a good proportion of SMEs are feeling confident about the Christmas period.”

Well over a third of businesses (40 per cent) said the festive period in 2012 accounted for more than 25 per cent of their total annual sales, in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, business services and wholesale.

Winterton added: “The Christmas period is vital to many SMEs across the country so it’s encouraging that many business owners are confident about the trading environment this year.

Winterton, however, cautioned about the need for SMEs to prepare themselves for the year ahead as the research shows that only two in ten businesses have developed a plan for 2014.

“With the festive season typically seeing increased consumer spending, and rising orders, businesses working to meet this demand, may have little time to prepare for the post-Christmas lull and new year.

“It is important that SMEs capitalise on the building blocks of economic recovery laid this year and it’s vital that they have appropriate funding in place, in addition to a robust business plan for the year ahead.”