Rise in exports, fall in UK sales

Many county firms have 
reported an increase in 
exports but a fall in UK sales, new figures released this week have revealed.

The latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) results, released by Northamptonshire Chamber, showed a continuing trend for exporting, with a rise for the fourth consecutive quarter.

The survey covered 122 businesses employing 7,734 people across the county.

Just under 80 per cent of manufacturing firms who responded reported export sales had remained the same or increased during the first quarter of 2013.

But in the UK, only 56 per cent of manufacturing firms said sales had increased, down from 65 per cent in the last quarter. In the service sector, 84 per cent of businesses reported sales had increased or stayed the same, but 18 per cent reported a decrease in advance orders.

Companies were more positive regarding their workforce. More than 80 per cent of manufacturing firms expected their workforce to increase or stay the same, while the 
figure was an encouraging 
96 per cent in the services sector.

Looking further ahead, 76 per cent of manufacturers expect turnover to improve or stay the same over the next 12 months and 67 per cent expect profitability to improve. In the services sector, 79 per cent expect turnover to improve and 74 per cent expect profitability to improve.

Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber, said: “It is positive to see the growing number of businesses in the county turning to exporting.

“There is no denying that times are still tough out there and businesses need support.

“Hopefully some of the business-friendly measures announced in the budget will go some way to helping them grow and invest,” Mr Griffiths added.