SMEs approach 2013 with cause for cautious optimism on growth

NEARLY half of SMEs are anticipating growing profits this year, according to new research from South Wales Chamber of Commerce.

Its latest Quarterly Economic Survey sponsored by the chartered accountants, Broomfield and Alexander, shows that almost half (48%) of small and medium-sized businesses from Newport, Swansea, Cardiff and Mid Wales are expecting to increase their profitability during the next 12 months, with more than a third (35%) expecting to maintain their current levels.

The positive response from businesses comes with the news that sales figures for many of those trading on the UK market have continued to improve over the last quarter, with more than three-quarters (76%) of businesses either increasing their sales or maintaining consistent figures. Almost three-quarters (74%) have also reported that advanced custom has remained consistent or increased during the period, up on the Q3 figures of 72%.

Businesses that trade internationally have continued to perform solidly, with more than three-quarters (77%) reporting advanced custom has either remained consistent or increased, up on the Q3 figure of 74%.

Graham Morgan, director at the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: “Yet again, these figures support what we have been seeing on the ground in Wales – an increasingly confident business community, bolstered by improving sales figures over the last year.

“Of course, we recognise that the market remains difficult and not all businesses will have seen improvements. It is our experience that those businesses which trade only in Wales continue to struggle, while those that trade to the rest of the UK and abroad are more likely to hold their own.

“The governments in Wales and Westminster have their part to play but now more than ever, businesses themselves need to be proactive and think globally if they want to grow and prosper in the long term

Read more: Wales Online