Devastating impact of coronavirus on Northamptonshire businesses revealed by 'first of its kind' survey

'Firms will hopefully be able to turn their minds from just surviving towards stabilising and finally growing again'

By Jack Duggan
Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 1:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 1:40 pm

A snapshot of the devastating impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on businesses in Northamptonshire has been revealed.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce's survey of members from May 18 to June 8 shows how they suffered in every metric, from demand and sales to employment and confidence.

The consultation is considered by the chamber to be the first of its kind in the UK to assess the state of the economy since lockdown was imposed in March.

Businesses in Northamptonshire have been badly affected by the coronavirus, according to the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce

Interim chief executive Louise Wall said: “Although we cannot predict the future and we must remain vigilant against the possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus, the very beginnings of measures easing the lockdown are coming into place.

"In the coming weeks, firms will hopefully be able to turn their minds from just surviving towards stabilising and finally growing again.

"Now more than ever the Northamptonshire Chamber will champion and represent the voice of local business.

"I am sure our members will do all they can to rise to the challenges posed by Covid-19. Finally, can I wish everyone the very best in their health and personal wellbeing.”

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce interim chief executive Louise Wall

Members participated in the quarter two survey to highlight their views and to show the performance and concerns of the business community in Northamptonshire.

The findings were in stark contrast to the optimistic note revealed in first quarter’s results, with businesses, not unexpectedly, suffering across the board.

The number of businesses recording an increase in domestic sales was down from 28 per cent in Q1 to 10 per cent in Q2 with those seeing a decrease rising from 26 per cent to 75 per cent.

Business confidence fell precipitously between the two quarters - 52 per cent of businesses stated they believe turnover will worsen over the next year and 56 per cent believe in turn profitability will worsen.

However, with lockdown gradually easing and relief measures continually adapting to business needs, the chamber hopes Q2 will prove to be the low point from which industry starts to bounce back.

In the report, Ms Wall said: "The business environment is clearly one of the most difficult in living memory.

"However, I believe that the results of this survey are hugely important both in comparison with previous quarters and as we look forward to any future economic recovery."