Thousands of businesses in Bristol facing fight for survival

A staggering 4,000 Bristol companies are now classed as being in ‘significant’ economic distress, according to the latest figures from Begbies Traynor’s ‘Red Flag Alert’.

High interest rates and inflation, alongside weak consumer confidence and rising and unpredictable costs, are the key factors putting considerable financial pressure on businesses across the city region, with 3902 at risk of economic failure.

This represents a quarterly increase of 12%, and an annual rise of 4.3%.

The figures also highlighted particular sector hotspots, with the construction and retail sectors seeing quarterly increases of 22.8% and 20.1% respectively in the number of companies in significant financial distress.

Paul Wood, partner at Begbies Traynor in Bristol, said: “As we start 2024, the UK economy is in a difficult position after a challenging 12 months for businesses, who have had to grapple with multiple macro-economic pressures. As a result, we are seeing insolvency rates starting to accelerate.

“However, later this year, we could see some respite for companies as inflation looks like it may reach more palatable levels, which in turn should result in interest rates starting to decrease from current heightened levels.

“That said, there are no signs of an easy fix and, with geo-political uncertainty continuing to rise and a hike in the national wage around the corner, the backdrop isn’t improving for an economy that is still firmly in recovery mode post-pandemic. For many businesses, I fear soldiering on in this environment will prove to be one step too far.”