West firms gain more customers but consumer confidence remains a challenge

June 7, 2013

Real signs of recovery are emerging among West businesses, with 35% of small and medium-sized firms having more customers in the first quarter and a similar percentage finding lapsed customers are returning, a new survey shows.

The latest figures in the Business Factors Index, produced by independent invoice finance provider Bibby Financial Services show the general outlook for businesses has also improved.

The report reveals that 51% of firms feel they are doing well and are hopeful about the future, up from 41% this time last year.

However, while customer numbers are up, new orders are down according to the research with just 17% reporting a rise in orders during Q1, compared to 30% in the final quarter of last year.

Some 64% say the lack of consumer confidence is the biggest challenge to their business.

Bibby Financial Services regional managing director Sharon Wiltshire said: “The results of the latest Business Factors Index do reflect the mixed fortunes that businesses in the West are experiencing.

“On the one hand there are some really encouraging signs of recovery, but on the other, SMEs are still having to contend with some very real challenges to their businesses, such as low consumer confidence and the impact of fuel prices.

“The figures also reveal that only 32 per cent have managed to invest in their businesses in the past three months, which could suggest difficulty in securing funding for growth.”


Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email info@bristol-business.net for more information.