North West company growth slows

Business growth in the North West slowed in May, as the number of active businesses in the region declined, new figures show.

Data from insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 shows that there were 1,600 fewer active businesses in May, a stark contrast to the record levels noted in April.

The fall is the first month‐on‐month since August 2017, and follows a two year period where the number of active businesses in the region has surged by more than 50,000.

R3 report that more than 368,000 businesses were active in the North West in May, a drop of 0.4% when compared to the previous month.

Despite the drop, there are 17% more firms in the region than at the end of 2015 and R3’s North West chair Paul Barber believes growth is starting to slow.

He said the figures reflect the start‐up culture that exists in the UK, where entrepreneurs are prepared to take risks to set up business ventures.

Listing rapid growth as “unsustainable”, he added that new businesses are particularly vulnerable to economic conditions and uncertain periods of trading.

The retail sector has been hit hard by financial difficulties in 2018, with a number of high‐profile insolvency and restructuring cases.

Increasing competition from online retailers, coupled with rising business rates and reduced consumer spending have all been listed as reasons for the decline of high street stores.

Mr Barber added that the construction and restaurant sectors had bucked the month‐on‐month trend in the North West, while the declines in business numbers were broadly similar across the
majority of other sectors.

Companies are also susceptible in their early years as they regularly lack the finance or cash flow to overcome any unexpected issues

If extensive issues do exist, undertaking options reviews may help to pinpoint the best strategy by assessing the current situation and by providing potential solutions.

This should ensure that a business is aware of all the available restructuring and refinancing options that may exist. 

By Phil Smith


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