Many SMEs will welcome a royal boost as revenues are expected to rise

Three-fifths (60%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK expect to see their revenues increase this quarter compared to the same period last year, thanks in part to a royal boost from the holiday celebrations, according to the latest quarterly Barclays SME Barometer.

On average, SMEs expect an increase of 10.4% between April and June 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, with those in the hospitality and leisure sector forecasting an increase of 34, 7% – a rebound for a sector that had just opened after the lockdown this time last year.

Despite an increasingly difficult business environment, the Royal Jubilee is expected to boost independent pubs, bars and restaurants to the tune of £76m.2 Thursday, June 2 and Friday, June 3, 49% of those open expect sales to increase.

This follows a successful first quarter of the year (January 2022 – March 2022) for UK SMEs, with more than half (52%) reporting an increase from the fourth quarter of 2021, and 58% reporting an increase of year-over-year revenue for the same period in 2021.

These figures are supported by data from Barclaycard Payments3which processes 1 in 3 debit and credit card payments in the UK, showing a 20.11% increase in value and 35% increase in volume of SME payments over the same period (January – March) compared to the pre-pandemic period4.

Ross Robinson, owner of the Queens Hotel in Lytham, which will be hosting a Jubilee garden party on the bank holiday on Friday, said:

Moving the bank holiday from May and adding an extra day to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee should give the Queens Hotel the opportunity to capitalize on what is expected to be a period of warmer weather.

“The extra holiday allows our customers to celebrate with friends and family at home while having the opportunity to visit local places like ours. We hope the public will use this time to support businesses in their area, to help boost sales during a time when the overall costs of running a business are at their highest for many years.

The projected revenue increase is good news for small businesses who face a number of challenges, including rising inflation, rising fuel and energy prices, and difficulty hiring new staff. workers.

The majority of SMEs (74%) say rising costs of living, energy bills and inflation are a long-term concern for their business. More than half (51%) fear rising costs will negatively impact consumer spending and a quarter (28%) fear it will make them less competitive as they are forced to raise their own prices .

Although they remain confident about the future of their businesses, more than half of SMEs (46%) have a pessimistic view of the outlook for the wider UK economy and two-fifths (41%) say the he current business environment is unstable.

Colin O’Flaherty, Head of SMEs at Barclaycard Payments, said:

“After an exceptionally difficult period for the hospitality and leisure sector, it is encouraging to see that companies have seen their revenues increase in recent months, despite a difficult economic climate.

“The Jubilee will bring a welcome and much-needed boost of confidence to many SMEs, as consumers look to celebrate, support local businesses and make the most of the four-day weekend.

“However, it’s no surprise that in the short term, the rising cost of living, rising inflation and difficulty in hiring new workers are a major source of concern for small business owners. . It is essential that they continue to draw on the support of the wider business community to get through a new difficult period.

Demonstrating SME confidence in the future of their business, additional results reveal that despite the challenging environment, the majority (87%) of SMEs say they plan to invest in their business over the next 12 months . Nearly two-fifths (39%) plan to recruit new staff with an average of eight new entrants for every company recruiting. Others plan to invest in new equipment and technology (32%) and retrain or upgrade their staff (27%).

Earlier this year, to help SMEs recover and grow, Barclays launched a support program to boost small businesses. The bank is hosting 50 masterclasses a month this year, focusing on managing cash flow, growing businesses and supporting wellbeing. Courses are open to all small business owners, with national events focusing on the hospitality industry. Learn more at https://labs.barclays/business-health-hub