Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the retail sector are planning to invest for future growth, according to new research from specialist lending and savings bank Aldermore. The new data show SMEs are proactively looking for opportunities to grow over the next five years.
The Aldermore SME Outlook 2016 found that nearly a third (31%) of businesses surveyed in the retail sector intend to hire more staff over the next five years to foster growth, while 27% plan to invest in new assets to increase productivity. Furthermore, 16% of SMEs in the retail sector intend to grow by joining forces with another business either through a merger or acquisition. Only 11% of those questioned claimed that they will not be taking positive action in order to grow their business. With 89% of respondents, the vast majority of small and medium firms in the retail sector are in the growth business and making firm plans to achieve it, Aldermore adds.
Despite a slowing world economy and increasing uncertainty about the future path of the UK economy, partly due to the upcoming EU referendum, the results show that SMEs in the retail sector are confident that investing in their businesses is the best way forward to strengthen their position in the market. With a significant proportion of SMEs intending to hire new staff, prospects for the job market in retail look set to remain strong.
Aldermore specialist finance commercial director Andrew Dixon commented: “It’s clear that SMEs in the retail sector are being proactive and have strong plans in place to grow their business over the next five years. Not only are they intending to promote their business through increased marketing activity but they are also taking steps to launch new products and hire new staff.
“Whether this is despite of or in reaction to the upcoming uncertainty brought on by the EU referendum is difficult to gauge. However, what is clear is that these steps will serve to increase the ability of SMEs in retail to continue driving economic growth locally and throughout the wider UK economy.”