This Week In Business

The outlook for the UK economy has shown encouraging signs this week as British retail sales beat expectations in July, in spite of slowing economic growth.

The results were positive for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in food, clothing, footwear and household goods in particular, with growth in all these sectors exceeding predictions.

However, this welcome news was somewhat offset by the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) announcement that the UK’s productivity levels have sunk for the second quarter in a row. According to the ONS, output per hour dropped by 0.1% during the three months to June, compared to a 0.5% fall for the first quarter of the calendar year.

Business growth

Despite a backdrop of economic and political uncertainty, the number of new businesses being set up in the UK has grown in the previous year. Research from Money Supermarket has revealed that the IT, leisure and service and repairs sectors have fared particularly well, with the latter seeing 81 per cent more new businesses being registered. The creative industries, however, haven’t seen as much success, with the number of new businesses registered dipping by four per cent.

Worryingly, Manchester appears to be beating London in terms of entrepreneurship. A recent report by national accountancy group, UHY Hacker Young, found that Manchester creates 79 new businesses per 10,000 population, compared to London’s 64 new businesses. The availability of cheaper upstart costs is cited as a key reason for this, with London-based businesses facing greater costs and having to work harder to secure capital in their early days.

London recruitment

London’s labour market is growing at a healthy level, according to a survey of the capital’s business leaders by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The survey showed that an impressive 54 per cent of the 1,000 businesses surveyed were intending to recruit new staff this year.

However, the same survey showed that business leaders were increasingly concerned that the cost of living in London was putting off potential applicants, reducing the pool of talent available to them. For advice on how your small business can attract the best candidates, read our recent blog post.

The support on offer in the Building Legacies programme helps small businesses to grow and become ‘fitter to supply’, helping them win contracts in a challenging business climate.  If you have any questions or would like further information about the range of support on offer in the Building Legacies Programme, please contact Danny Hackett on info@buildinglegacies.co.uk or call the office on 020 7537 6480.