Confidence in West Midlands’ businesses has hit a 16-year low as local firms suffer from the harsh trading conditions of recent months, a new survey from Lloyds TSB Commercial shows.
A bleak picture is painted for the future of the region’s firms in the latest Business in Britain poll, which shows that for the first time ever those expecting a deterioration of sales and orders outnumber those expecting improvements.
The bi-annual report, based on the responses of more than 3,000 firms, has been charting the performance of businesses and their views on future prospects for the last 12 years.
Their Business Confidence Index, compiled from statistics on sales, orders and expectations for profits, has now fallen to the lowest level ever for the West Midlands.
About 41 per cent of firms reported declining sales in the second half of the year while just 27 per cent recorded an upturn. Another 40 per cent recorded fewer orders at the end of last year, while only 20 per cent reported an increase.
John Robson, from Lloyds TSB Commercial in the Midlands, said: “Businesses in the West Midlands have had a rough ride in recent months, with demand on a downward spiral it is small wonder that they are feeling pressure on their finances and that confidence is at such a low ebb.”
Expectations for profits are also the worst on record with only 15 per cent of firms in the region reporting higher profits in the last six months, while 55 per cent reported a fall.