Region’s business confidence slumps to six month low - Lloyds
Business confidence in the South West fell 25 points during September to 21 per cent, the lowest level in six months, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in the South West reported lower confidence in their own business prospects month-on-month, down 23 points at 26 per cent.
When taken alongside their optimism in the economy, down 27 points to 16, this gives a headline confidence reading of 21 per cent.
South West businesses identified their top target areas for growth in the next six months as evolving their products and services (40 per cent), investing in their teams (31 per cent), and diversifying into new markets (21 per cent).
A net balance of 10 per cent of businesses in the region expect to increase staff levels over the next year, down 25 points on last month.
Amanda Dorel, regional director for the South West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Despite a drop in confidence for South West businesses, it is encouraging to see firms looking within their own operations for growth opportunities. It’s fantastic that many firms exploring their product and service offering too as they gear up for a busy final quarter of the year.
“As consumer confidence improves, businesses in the region will be looking to capitalise on the opportunities that an increase in spending could bring their way. Those who keep a close eye on margins, and manage their working capital effectively will be best placed to take advantage of these opportunities.”
The Business Barometer, which surveys 1,200 businesses monthly, provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.