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Firms face the future with growing confidence

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By Fiona Reid
Firms face the future with growing confidence

BUSINESSES across the region have been revealing their hopes and fears for the future.

A total of 601 firms took part in the latest South of Scotland Business Panel Survey.

They were asked about the challenges and opportunities facing them.

In response, 42 per cent were confident in Scotland’s economic outlook.

Reflecting on the last six months, 42 per cent said their confidence had decreased, 51 per cent had stayed the same and seven per cent has increased

Business performance remained fairly stable compared with previous surveys, with 29 per cent reporting they had performed well, 43 per cent stayed the same and 28 per cent had struggled

Performance was generally better in sales and turnover, where 34 per cent reported an increase, than in profit margins, with just 19 per cent reporting an increase.

Pollsters say the data is a good indication of the way inflation and cost of doing business crisis has impacted profit margins.

In terms of growth, 83 per cent of companies were taking action to make the most of growth opportunities in their local areas. The top actions were investing in new or upgraded equipment, investing in technology and upskilling staff .

Businesses are more likely to aim to increase sales within Scotland, compared to either to the rest of UK or outwith UK.

The most immediate priorities for local firms is surviving the current financial challenges, as well as satisfying existing customer demand, looking after their wellbeing, making cost savings and building resilience to future financial challenges.

The survey was undertaken on behalf of SOSE and chief executive Jane Morrison-Ross, above, said: “The survey confirms the ongoing challenges South of Scotland businesses are facing, but reinforces their ambitions for growth.”

Adam O’Sullivan, of SOSE’s economic insights team, added: “The South of Scotland Business Panel Survey provides a unique snapshot of current business sentiments in the region.

“However, with each new survey we get a more detailed long-term view of how business confidence, actions and priorities have shifted over time.

“If businesses would like to join the panel, please email [email protected].”

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