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January sales revive the fortunes of the UK High street. According to BDO’s monthly High Street Sales Tracker (HSST), bargain hunters came out in force last month to give the UK high street a boost at the beginning of 2016. BDO’s HSST recorded a 1.4% growth in year-on-year sales for January. Fashion sales were particularly strong, recording a year-on-year rise of 1.9% for the whole of January. The lifestyle sector increased sales by 0.3% and homewares sales grew by 0.8%. Non-store sales rose by 20.2% compared to the same period last year. BDO advised that retailers will be breathing a sigh of relief after BDO’s December figures recorded the worst Christmas trading figures on the high street since 2008 (down 5.3% year-on-year). To read BDO's news release go to
UK economic growth expected to remain solid, while India is a beacon among emerging markets. The CBI's latest quarterly forecast predicts that the UK will remain among the fastest growing advanced economies this year, although it has downgraded its GDP growth forecast for both 2016 (to 2.3%, from 2.6% in November) and 2017 (to 2.1%, down from 2.4%). Globally, the CBI predicts that India is a beacon among emerging markets, with growth likely to remain around 7% in 2016 and 2017, outpacing China (5.7% in both 2016 and 2017). The US is also on a firm trajectory (with growth at 2.3% for 2016 and 2017) and the Eurozone’s recovery continuing to move in the right direction (predicted growth of 1.7% in 2016 rising to 1.9% in 2017). To read the CBI's news release go to
Exporting on the up for UK small businesses. According to the new Barclays’ Business Abroad Index, which tracked overseas payments made to its business customers, UK businesses saw a rise of 6% in total payments from Europe during 2015 compared to 2014, while of the top ten export destinations for UK SMEs, four fifths were in Europe. Germany was the UK’s primary exporting partner for the year to December, with payments from Germany to UK SMEs increasing by 6%. The second and third most popular export destinations were France and the US, with inbound payments from France seeing the biggest rise (up one place compared to the previous year). While it remained out of the top ten in 18th position, exports to China from the UK continued to grow at a steady rate, up 21% in the same period. To read the press release go to
Berlin sets the pace for European business growth. New analysis published by Creditsafe has revealed that Berlin has witnessed an 22% increase in the number of active businesses in the last 18 months, significantly ahead of Paris (14%) and London (9%). In contrast, Brussels is struggling for economic growth having witnessed a 0.7% contraction in the number of active companies in the period. Creditsafe’s analysis also highlights the relatively low rate of business failure in London compared to other major European capital cities. In the 18 month period analysed, London had a business failure rate of just 0.39% compared to Berlin’s 0.75% failure rate. Both capitals compare extremely favourably to Paris where business failures reached 2.95% and Brussels at 3.15%. To read Creditsafe's news release go to
A decreasing annual trend in UK company insolvencies since 2011. Latest data published by The Insolvency Service has shown that a total of 14,629 companies entered into insolvency in 2015 -10% lower than the total in 2014 and the lowest annual total since 1989 (when 10,456 companies entered insolvency). There has been a decreasing annual trend in company insolvency since 2011. However, Phillip Sykes, president of R3, cautioned that although the falling price of a barrel of oil has helped businesses to bring costs down, it is causing a considerable degree of difficulty for those in the sector. "While many oil and gas businesses are currently undergoing a period of restructuring, if they are unable to cut costs sufficiently we may see a wave of insolvencies in the sector in future quarters particularly among the smaller firms.” To read R3's news release go to
Moderate UK GDP figures suggest a three-tier economy. Preliminary UK GDP figures for Q4 201, published by the ONS indicates that annual GDP growth in the fourth quarter was 1.9%, and for 2015 as a whole the pace of expansion was 2.2% - well below the 2.9% recorded in 2014. David Kern, Chief Economist of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), commented: “The GDP figures demonstrate that the recovery remains fragile. While the services sector continues to grow, production is close to stagnation and the construction sector is now in recession. Every effort must be made to support both these sectors as we seek to rebalance the economy.” To read the BCC's news release go to
UK retail failures down by 19% in 2015 as the high street continues to evolve. According to analysis from Deloitte, the number of retailers entering administration fell from 119 in 2014 to 96 during 2015 - a decrease of 19%. The number of administrations in all sectors in England also fell from 1,302 in 2014 to 1,147 companies last year - a 12% decrease. Lee Manning, restructuring services partner at Deloitte, said: “The annual data reminds us that administration is being used less and less as a restructuring tool, especially by the medium and larger players in the retail sector. Solvent restructuring practices are more common due to the current availability of funding and a pattern is emerging whereby we are working with companies on restructuring and refinancing.” To read Deloitte's news release go to
The top five risks facing the US in 2016. Dun & Bradstreet has published a new report, 'The top five risks facing the US in 2016' which reports that more than six years after the Great Recession (December 2007-June 2009) ended, a variety of risks still plague the global economy and that 2016 has already got off to a volatile start. Against this backdrop, Dun & Bradstreet’s US Economics team has identified the following top headwinds to the US economy, including: the strong dollar, spillover from the Chinese slowdown and a slump in oil prices. To read D&B's paper go to
UK profit warnings hit seven year high. According to EY’s latest Profit Warnings report, UK quoted companies issued 313 profit warnings in 2015, up from 299 in the previous year and the highest annual total since 2008. The report also found that the final quarter of 2015 saw 100 profit warnings issued from 7.3% of UK quoted companies, representing the highest quarterly total since Q1 2009 and the highest percentage of companies warning in a single quarter since Q4 2001. During 2015, 17.3% of current UK quoted companies warned. To read EY's news release go to
UK manufacturing output shrinks for the first time in nearly three years. According to the latest Business Trends report from BDO, in a sign of decreasing global confidence the BDO manufacturing sub-index has dropped to 94.7 (note: the 95 level separates growth and decline). This is the first time in over two and a half years (since May 2013) that UK manufacturing output has shrunk. In comparison, UK services output continues to be well above the long term trend reaching 103.2 in January’s survey - indicating a growing imbalance between UK manufacturing and UK services. To read BDO's news release go to
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