Firms showing resilience
Businesses are reporting solid growth, with expectations that turnover and profitability will improve getting stronger, says the latest Quarterly Economic Survey from the Lancashire Chambers of Commerce.
The Q1 2017 survey, compiled by the county’s Chambers of Commerce in association with Moore and Smalley Chartered Accountants, shows that the manufacturing sector performed strongly in the first quarter of the year, particularly in the exports market.
The number of firms reporting improved sales and orders was higher than in previous quarters.
However, the rising cost of overheads and raw materials are presenting as a risk to growth in the medium term. Although the performance of the services sector has not returned to historic trend levels, it is improving from its decline in the two quarters immediately following the EU referendum.
The results of the survey found that businesses are continuing to feel inflationary pressures.
The percentage of manufacturers reporting raw materials as the key driver of increased prices is at the highest since Q4 2011, and in both sectors a significant proportion of firms anticipate having to raise their own prices over the next three months.
Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber, said: “In the here and now, many businesses are resilient and experiencing solid growth.
“Many firms tell us their short-term expectations are strong, but that the medium-term picture is far from clear.”