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Gloucestershire Business News

Small business prospects hanging on strong Christmas sales

Almost one in five (16%) small business owners say their business won't survive 2022 unless they have a successful Christmas sales period.

The study by small business insurer Simply Business is published ahead of Black Friday - a key Christmas shopping window dominated by retail giants. It also revealed that more than a third (36%) say they make over 20% of their annual revenue in this period.

More than a quarter (27%) are 'not confident' about their chances of a successful festive period. One in 10 (10%) even expect it to be worse than last year, when restrictions and localised lockdowns were commonplace.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: "While much of the UK prepares for a period of well-earned festive cheer, the feeling among small business owners is likely to be rather more sombre this Christmas."

At the same time, two thirds (60%) of small business owners state a good festive season would be a lifeline for their business - with many still looking to recover from the devastating impact of Covid-19.

Poor festive trading could prove fatal for many small businesses with Covid-19 already reckoned to have cost SMEs £126.6bn.

The study revealed that well over two in five (43%) are still struggling to recover financially from the impact of Covid-19.

Business owners say their biggest challenges this Christmas will be attracting enough customers (21%) and earning enough to keep their operation alive into 2022 (17%).

What's more, one in five (21%) believe current supply chain issues will hit them hard - with ongoing challenges in getting goods to customers or sourcing the stock they need.

Meanwhile, more than half (52%) live in fear of future lockdowns and tighter restrictions, and the impact that would have on their businesses.

Over a quarter (28%) have taken more time to promote their business or spent more money on advertising, while others have experimented with new or additional product lines or bought more stock (15% and 14% respectively).

One in 10 (10%) have also set up an online store for the first time - helping them reach new customers and capitalise on the growth in online demand.

Alan Thomas, Simply Business, said: "Without a bumper Christmas trading period, one in five small businesses will permanently close in 2022."

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