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December 2014

Half of Britain’s small businesses feel positive in the lead up to Christmas


Christmas can be a difficult time for Britain’s small and medium sized businesses, however over half (52%) of SMEs are feeling positive about trade in the lead up to Christmas this year. 13% actively feel negative about this period for their business.

The findings come from Zurich’s latest SME Risk Index, which also reveals that younger business decision makers are more likely to feel optimistic in the run up to the festive season. While 56% of 25-34 year old SME decision makers surveyed felt positively about trade in the lead up to Christmas, just 45% of those aged 55 or more felt the same.

The research also shows that SMEs with a seasonal business model do face extra challenges. Over a third (38%) of those who would describe their business as seasonal say they have experienced cash flow problems due to periodic fluctuations in trade, and almost a quarter (23%) say they struggle to plan for the future.

 

Richard Coleman, Director of SME at Zurich, comments:

“The festive period can prove make or break for some small and medium businesses, with modern retailing events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday making it clearer than ever before that a great many businesses rely on a significant influx of cash flow at this time.

“Yet it’s encouraging to see that our younger generation of business owners feels more optimistic about what the festive season holds. While there are pressures to meet certain targets, planning for a range of scenarios and factoring in potential risks will help to avoid any seasonal shocks to the business. If trade levels do start to fall below expectations, a solid plan will allow businesses to remain nimble, acting quickly to generate interest in alternative ways, or to manage any supply or cashflow issues”

 

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