South West business confidence reaches new heights

Amanda Dorel

In November, business confidence in the South West declined by nine points to 38 per cent, according to Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking’s latest business barometer.

Despite this drop, South West firms expressed increased optimism about their own trading prospects, rising by one point to 52 per cent.

The top priorities for growth in the next six months among South West businesses include investing in their teams (49 per cent), evolving their products and services (37 per cent), and entering new markets (30 per cent).

The overall business confidence across the UK increased by three points to 42% in November, with firms’ outlook on the economy also up by four points at 38 per cent.

The survey, which polls 1,200 businesses monthly, serves as an early indicator of economic trends both regionally and nationally.

In the South West, a net balance of 39 per cent of businesses anticipate an increase in staff levels over the next year, showing a ten-point rise from the previous month.

This places the region as the third-highest, behind London (46 per cent) and the North West (45 per cent).

Amanda Dorel, regional director for the South West at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Despite confidence levels dipping slightly in the region, it’s encouraging to see firms remaining confident in their own operations as we head into what is often a very busy end of the year.

“With Christmas shopping in full swing for many, it’s important that businesses, particularly those in the hospitality and leisure sectors, regroup to ensure they can get the most out of a busy trading period. Managing working capital and keeping a tight rein on margins will help businesses to capitalise on opportunities and be primed to take full advantage of the busy festive period.

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