Northamptonshire ends 2017 with bigger sales abroad - but UK sales 'uncertain'

Northamptonshire businesses are reportedly selling better overseas.
Northamptonshire businesses are reportedly selling better overseas.
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Northamptonshire's businesses saw a growth spurt in overseas sales at the end of 2017, a survey has found.

Since the second half of 2014, overseas sales have been on a downward trend in Northamptonshire with interest in the county's services and goods rarely improving.

But nearly half of the county's manufacturers have now reported an improvement in the latest Quarterly Economic Survey by Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.

However, sales in the UK remain "uncertain" and businesses are under pressure to raise their prices, the report says. Manufacturers are also less confident they will increase how much money they will bring over the next year.

The report was made up of responses by nearly 50 firms employing 2,220 staff in Northamptonshire.

Northamptonshire Chamber chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “The improved performance of the services sector in overseas sales perhaps gives cause for optimism against a backdrop of political uncertainty in trade negotiations. Perhaps, in the services sector at least, we are seeing the beginnings of the predicted rebalance away from domestic demand towards international trade in response to strengthening global growth and the weak pound.

“There was also a slight increase in the number of businesses that expected to grow their workforces over the next 12 months.

“However, the survey also highlighted a reduction in domestic sales for manufacturers and reports from 65 per cent of manufacturers and 33 per cent of service sector firms that their prices will have to increase.

“In addition, only 18 per cent of manufacturers predict their turnover will improve in the next 12 months which is the lowest figure reported since the financial crash.”

Northamptonshire Chamber’s Quarterly Economic Survey is part of the largest and most representative survey of its kind in the UK and provides central and local policymakers with feedback of the performance, concerns and views of businesses across Northamptonshire.