What’s more, the Barometer revealed three fifths (60%) of all small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are hoping for a sales rise this quarter versus the same period last year, partly due to the bank holiday festivities.
On average, SMEs are hoping for a 10.4% rise between the months of April and June 2022 against the same period in 2021, with those in the hospitality and leisure industry predicting a 34.7% increase – a bounce back for the sector which only just opened post-lockdown this time last year.
This follows a successful first quarter of the year (January 2022 to March 2022) for UK SMEs with more than half (52%) reporting a rise from Q4 2021, and 58% reporting a year-on-year rise in revenue for the same period in 2021.
Theses figures are supported by data from Barclaycard Payments, which processes one in three debit and credit card payments in the UK, which showed a rise of 20.11% in the value and 35% in the volume of payments to SMEs in the same period (January to March) versus pre-pandemic.
A time for celebration
The Queens Hotel, Lytham, Lancashire owner Ross Robinson, who will be hosting a Jubilee party next Friday, said: “Moving the May bank holiday and adding an extra day to celebrate the Queens Jubilee should give the Queens Hotel an opportunity to capitalise on what should be a period of warmer weather.
“The extra bank holiday enables our guests to celebrate with their friends and family at home while still having an opportunity to visit local venues such as ours.
“We hope the public use this time to support businesses in their local area, to help boost sales during a period where general costs of running a business are at the highest they have been for many years.”
The majority of SMEs (74%) believed rising living costs, energy bills and inflation were long-term concerns for their business. More than half (51%) worried the rising costs would negatively impact consumer spending and a quarter (28%) feared it would make them less competitive as they were forced to increase their own prices.
While they remained confident about the future of their businesses, more than half of SMEs (46%) had a pessimistic outlook on the prospects for the wider UK economy and two fifths (41%) stated the current business environment was unstable.
Barclaycard Payments head of SME Colin O’Flaherty said after an exceptionally tough time for hospitality and leisure, it was “encouraging” to see businesses had seen revenues rise over the last months despite a challenging economic climate.
He continued: “The Jubilee will provide a welcome and much needed confidence boost to many SMEs, as consumers look to celebrate, support local businesses and make the most of the four-day weekend.
“However, it’s not surprising that in the immediate term, cost of living increases, rising inflation and difficulty hiring new workers are a major cause of concern for small business owners. It’s vital that they continue to tap into the support of the wider business community to get through yet another difficult period.”
Demonstrating the confidence SMEs have about the future of their business, additional findings reveal that despite the challenging environment, the majority (87 per cent) of SMEs say they are planning to invest in their businesses over the next 12 months.
Furthermore, almost two-fifths (39 per cent) plan to recruit new staff with an average of eight new joiners for each business recruiting. Others plan to invest in new equipment and technology (32 per cent) and reskilling or upskilling staff (27 per cent).