‘Buy local!’ – One in five small businesses rely on strong Christmas sales to survive

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But 27 percent of staff working at small businesses (SMEs) are “not confident” about their trading fortunes. One in ten expects to fare even worse this month than they did last December, when restrictions and lockdowns were commonplace. The study by insurance provider Simply Business found two-thirds of owners believe a good festive season would be a lifeline for their business. One in ten would need to put business expansion plans on hold if this month’s takings are disappointing.

Covid has already cost Britain’s SMEs a combined £126.6billion and the crisis affecting them has been going on for more than 20 months now. Owners’ biggest Christmas challenges will be attracting enough customers (21 percent) and earning enough to keep their operation alive into 2022 (17 percent).

Alan Thomas, CEO of Simply Business, said: “For a third of small businesses, Christmas accounts for over 20 percent of their annual revenue. Many SME owners quite simply need it to be Christmas every day if they’re to recover properly from a devastating two years.

“They’ve faced the pandemic head-on, navigated supply shortages, and adapted to a new normal. They’ve shown resilience in abundance. But without a strong Christmas trading period, one in five small businesses will permanently close in 2022.”

He added: “It’s vital we support small businesses this Christmas, and all year round. “They’re the lifeblood of our local communities, and with close to six million of them in the UK, together they contribute trillions of pounds in turnover. They are quite simply the backbone of the economy.”

Poor cash flow has already proved to be a concern for small businesses in the UK since Covid hit – and a recent poll found more than a quarter have been chasing late payments constantly during the pandemic.

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