British businesses confident of growing sales, orders and profits
Economic activity will "remain strong" over next six months with increase in investment spending and exports
The majority of UK businesses have high expectations for the second half of 2015 and plan to increase sales, exports and investment spending, according to findings from Lloyds’ latest Business in Britain report.
The study of over 1,500 predominantly small and medium-sized UK companies reported business confidence for the next six months as “stable” – at 43% compared to January 2015 – with businesses in the South East, South West and East Midlands much more optimistic about growing orders, profits and sales.
Wales saw the biggest decline in business confidence, down 14 points to 32%, while Scotland and London also saw a marginal fall in confidence.
“Steady” business confidence is matched by plans to increase investment spending with over three quarters of firms set to invest more capital into their business, particularly those businesses in property (33%) and hospitality and leisure (30%).
When it comes to exports, 30% of the companies surveyed said they expect to increase their exports to Europe (up 8% from January 2015), with a 3% rise in the number of businesses intending to export to growing regions such as the Middle East and Africa.
On the report – running for its 23rd year – Lloyds’ mid markets and SME banking managing director, Tim Hinton, commented:
“Business confidence […] has been underlined by a bounce back in exports to Europe as well as companies’ intentions to grow their presence further on the international stage.
“Positively, businesses remain eager to invest in staff and infrastructure for the long term and while certain challenges remain on the horizon – such as uncertainty in the Eurozone, a potential interest rate rise and inflationary pressures – the overall outlook is strong for the UK, particularly in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
“Businesses have good reasons to remain confident as the long-term health of the UK continues to improve.”