Small and medium-sized enterprises see order numbers fall
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) recorded a fall in both domestic and export orders in the three months to January, as they struggled to stimulate business growth against a backdrop of economic uncertainty.
The latest quarterly SME Trends Survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), one of the UK's leading independent employers' organisations, revealed that SMEs also received a further blow to their attempts to drive their businesses forward, with production contracting for the third consecutive quarter.
Questioning 347 SMEs, the CBI report showed that total new orders dipped marginally for the second quarter in a row, largely driven by falls in both domestic orders (-6%) and export orders (-9%).
Output fails to meet expectations
The SMEs which took part in the survey argued that they expected to see a lift in both new orders (+9%) and domestic orders (+10%), while the demand for export orders was likely to remain sluggish (-2%).
Further figures show that output failed to meet growth expectations (+5%) this quarter, instead falling by a figure of (-8%).
The figures will provide worrying reading for companies who are likely to fear heading in the same direction as large brands such as Jessops, Republic and Blockbuster.
Specialist advice available
Many businesses may have felt that the worst of the downturn was now behind them. However, these results along with others for the first quarter of 2013 suggest that a number of companies could simply be caught in the eye of a wider-reaching financial storm.
Underperforming businesses worried about their financial situation can benefit from seeking advice sooner rather than later. A corporate insolvency specialist can assist business leaders, financial directors and stakeholders to deliver pro-active solutions for their business, as well as advice on how to adapt to the ever-changing economic landscape.