The annual poll of 172 senior executives found that private equity is tipped by three quarters (74%) to grow in importance this year, more than any other source of funding. And after several quiet years for flotations, close to half (43%) think IPOs will rise in significance this year.
Well over half of leaders responding to the survey, sponsored by Omnico, think access to funding has improved either significantly (20%) or marginally (40%) lately, and only one in six (17%) believes it remains challenging.
More than half (58%) say they are concerned or very concerned about property and rental costs—up a dozen percentage points from last year.
Even more (65%) are concerned or very concerned about energy prices this year, and roughly the same number (63%) feel the same about staffing costs. On the last, it is pay levels and a potential rise in the minimum wage that are fuelling anxiety.
There is also concern that consumer spending might be only slowly returning. Half of leaders (52%) think real growth in disposable income is still a year to 18 months away, and another quarter (28%) estimate that it is further off still.
CGA Peach’s Peter Martin said: “Our survey shows that pubs and restaurants have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the year ahead, and our Coffer Peach Business Tracker data reinforces the sense of mounting confidence. But we are not out of the woods yet. Property costs are putting the brakes on some operators in the capital, and energy, staff and food costs affect everyone. The sector will be hoping that the relentless pressure on property prices and fuel bills will start to ease this year.”