Business Information
Increasing UK business financial distress. According to Begbies Traynor’s Red Flag Alert research for Q4 2016, 276,518 businesses were experiencing ‘Significant’ financial distress at the end of 2016; an increase of 3% compared to the same period last year. On an annualised basis, the last time that ‘Significant’ distress fell year on year was in Q3 2013. This rising distress comes at a time when the number of UK company incorporations is growing substantially, with more than 685,000 start-ups joining the UK economy during 2016 alone – the highest level since the start of the financial crisis in 2007. However, Begbies Traynor highlights that many of these start-ups are short lived ‘lifestyle’ businesses often forced upon people by changing circumstances. For example, of the c.470,000 companies incorporated during 2011, almost 57% have since been dissolved, struck off or have entered formal insolvency procedures, and another 7.5% are not even trading. To read Begbies Traynor's news release go to
UK could remain a top 10 global economy in 2050. The UK could grow faster than other large European countries like Germany, France and Italy in the long run, despite some medium-term drag from Brexit. According to new analysis by PwC, The World in 2050, the UK will fall just one place from 9th to 10th in global economy rankings in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms by 2050, while measured by GDP at market exchange rates the UK could fall from 5th to 9th place. With potential average annual growth of around 1.9%, the UK is projected to be the fastest growing economy in the G7 over the whole period to 2050. To read PwC's news release go to
Six quarter high in UK business confidence. A resurgence in economic confidence was experienced by credit professionals in the final quarter of 2016, according to the UK’s latest Credit Managers’ Index (CMI). Yet bad debt remains a risk with only 13% of credit managers expecting a decline in 2017. Full results from the quarterly barometer of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM) have now been released; the CMI’s headline Index closed up 0.5 points to 59.8, ending a successive three-quarter fall. It is the highest result since Q2 2015 and only the fifth time in the CMI’s seven-year history it has climbed above 59.0. To read the CICM's news release go to
Europe to remain key export market for UK businesses - despite Brexit vote. According to the results of the British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) latest International Trade Survey, UK companies remain committed to strong trading relationships with European customers and suppliers despite the UK’s vote to leave the EU. The results of the survey, based on the responses of nearly 1,500 business people, show that UK companies continue to regard Europe as an important trading partner. Currently, around three-quarters of respondents sell (76%) and source (73%) goods and services in the EU market. The findings also show that over a third (36%) of the companies surveyed plan on putting more resources into exporting to the European market over the next five years. To read the BCC's news release go to
Retail trade is the biggest contributor to UK GDP growth. New figures show that GDP is estimated to have increased by 0.6% during the final quarter of 2016, with the retail trade making the largest contribution to headline GDP growth. Overall, UK GDP was estimated to have increased by 2.0% during 2016, slowing slightly from 2.2% in 2015 and from 3.1% in 2014. Commenting on the figures, Rupert Eastell (Head of retail at RSM) said: "The latest GDP figures underline the important contribution of the retail sector to the UK economy. However, the picture in the final months of the year was mixed. While many supermarkets recorded some good year-on-year figures, other High Street retailers didn’t fare so well and the ONS data for retail sales in December showed a 1.9% fall compared to a 0.1% fall in November. Over the next year, retailers will face a number of challenges. Key among these will be having to cope with the lower pound, which is down by around 15% on a trade-weighted basis since January 2016, and is likely to stay at these levels." To read RSM's news release go to
Late payment costs UK freelancers £16.5 million annually. A survey from the the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has found that freelancers spent an average of 20 days a year following up on late payments. Chris Bryce, IPSE chief executive, said: ‘It's an absolute travesty that freelancers have to spend a working month chasing late payment. Time chasing invoices is time not working, and for some freelancers that could be the work that keeps their business afloat. The introduction of the small business commissioner this year should clean up the UK's poor payment culture, so our smallest businesses can do what they do best." The research also found that 41% of freelancers find it difficult to complete their annual self-assessment, spending two working days, on average, completing their tax return. To read IPSE's news release go to
UK small businesses speak out on Brexit. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published its initial findings from a six-month research programme on the business impact of leaving the EU. 32% of small businesses in the UK are involved in overseas trade as an exporter and/or importer, with the vast majority trading with the EU single market (92% of exporting small firms and 85% of importing small firms). As a result of Brexit, the FSB found that 29% of exporting UK small firms, regardless of destination, expect their level of exports to decline, while 20% expect it to increase. The difference is starker for current importers, where 31% expect to see a decrease compared to 7% that expect to see an increase. To read the FSB's news release go to
Mid-sized companies revealed as the engine of the economy as they outperform UK plc. The UK’s mid-sized businesses grew faster, generated larger profit growth and created more jobs in the last 12 months than the nation’s large and small companies, according to new figures published by BDO. Financial results indicate that mid-sized businesses increased revenues and profits by 3.8% and 19% respectively compared to smaller businesses (turnover contracting by 7.6% and profits contracting by 26%) and FTSE 350 companies (turnover contracting by 12.6% and profits contracting by 24.5%). These high-growth, entrepreneurial and ambitious businesses (which BDO calls the UK economic engine) punch well above their weight, accounting for only 30,000 companies (1.5% of all UK companies) but one-third (£1.2 trillion) of all UK turnover. To read BDO's news release with a link to the full report go to
Domestic demand underpins growth in UK manufacturing orders. According to the latest CBI SME Trends Survey, the UK’s SME manufacturers saw new orders grow at the fastest pace in two years but there are stark signs of price pressures gathering steam. The survey of SME manufacturers reported healthy growth in total new orders, underpinned by a strengthening in domestic demand, while exports rose at only a subdued pace. Looking ahead, firms expect new orders to continue to grow solidly again over the next quarter, with the outlook for both domestic and export demand upbeat. To read the CBI's news release go to
UK retail retains strong brand appeal overseas. According to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) - Google online retail monitor for Q4 2016, the volume of overseas customers searching for UK retailers grew 23% across all devices in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter a year ago. In the UK, search volumes on mobile devices increased 16% in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared with the same quarter a year ago. Apparel was the most searched for sector by overseas consumers on mobile devices, reporting growth of 64% in Q4 2016. Beauty was also a popular sector for overseas consumers on mobile devices, increasing 50% in Q4 2016. roatia demonstrated the strongest appetite for UK retailers, reporting a 106% increase on mobile devices in the fourth quarter of 2016. To read the BRC's news release go to
Brexit and Trump have not dented UK business optimism. The latest Business Trends Report by BDO shows continuing signs of encouraging economic prospects for the UK over the coming six months, despite uncertainty following the US Presidential Election and the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.  BDO attributes the positive performance of UK businesses to an overall improvement in the global economy, the decrease in the value of sterling and better-performing key export markets. Commenting on the findings, Peter Hemington, Partner, BDO LLP, said: “The UK economy seems to be remarkably resilient. British businesses are surprisingly confident about the short term, encouraged by the opportunities our cheaper currency and a better-performing global economy have created. These have provided a much-needed short-term boost for our economy, particularly our manufacturers." To read BDO's news release go to
Overseas investors' appetite for UK food & beverage companies reaches three-year high. According to the latest research from Grant Thornton, overseas investors' appetite for UK food and beverage companies has continued to increase, with 2016 recording the highest level of activity for three years. Grant Thornton's latest Bitesize report found that the number of deals involving overseas investors increased to a third (32%) of all transactions in 2016; representing a continued rise from the levels seen in 2014 (20%) and 2015 (28%). Asian investors accounted for 19% of all overseas buyers last year, up from 11% in 2014 and 13% in 2015. There was also a particular interest from Japanese investors, with the largest transaction of Q4 2016 being Japanese company Sumitomo's approach to acquire Irish fruit distributor Fyffes. To read Grant Thornton's news release go to
Weakest January sales in the UK for four years.  According to new figures by BDO, the UK’s high street has just experienced its worst January sales in four years. January’s like-for-like sales declined by -0.1%, according to BDO’s High Street Sales Tracker. It marks the first negative growth in the crucial January discounting period since 2013 and comes hot on the heels of a dismal December (also down -0.1% year-on-year). Fashion sales were hit hardest in January, down -1% year-on-year after three consecutive weeks of negative sales growth at the end of the month. The only silver lining for retailers came from online sales, which hit a two-year high for a single month, growing 26.6% in January. To read BDO's news release go to
Fall in the value of Sterling is squeezing domestic sales margins and increasing the cost base of UK businesses. The British Chambers of Commerce’s (BCC) latest International Trade Survey has warned that the recent fall in the value of Sterling is squeezing domestic sales margins and increasing the cost base of UK businesses.  The Survey's findings  also indicate that the recent devaluation of Sterling is having a negative impact on the domestic sales margins of 44% of businesses. The effect is more diverse on export margins, with roughly equal levels of businesses reporting a positive (25%) and negative (22%) impact, suggesting that while the fall in value of the pound may be helping some UK exporters it’s also hurting others. The survey also found that 68% of businesses expect the fall in the value of Sterling to increase their cost base in the coming year. To read the BCC's news release go to
Survey finds that 21% of directors feel they are at risk of insolvency if a creditor fails to pay. A new survey of UK Limited company Directors by has found that 27% of Directors say Brexit is their biggest business fear for 2017. 26% of Directors think Brexit will impact their business negatively versus 15% positively. In addition, 21% of Directors said they are at risk of insolvency if one or more creditors fail to pay, and 47% of Directors also said they did not know quick cash flow or balance sheet tests to determine if a company is insolvent.  To read's news release go to
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