Small business confidence rises to positive territory for first time since 2018 as non-essential retail reopens

Small business confidence has risen to its highest level since autumn 2014, a major study has revealed.

The finding forms part of the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) quarterly Small Business Index (SBI), which comes as non-essential retail in England and Wales reopens for the first time this year.

According to the report, almost three in five (58 per cent) small businesses expect their performance to improve this quarter (April to June), while less than a third (31 per cent) expect theirs to worsen.

The survey of 1,700 small business owners also reveals that more than half (51 per cent) expect their firms to grow over the next 12 months – up 22 per cent compared to the same period last year.

As a result, small business confidence – which is used to measure how optimistic business owners are about their future – rocketed to +27.3 in Q1, compared to -49.3 in Q4 2020.

This represents the highest level on record since Q3 2014 and the first time it has risen into positive territory since Q2 2018, the FSB said.

Commenting on the findings, FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “It’s fantastic that our shops, hairdressers and gyms can get back to doing what they do best all over England from today, with some restrictions easing in other parts of the UK as well.

“The certainty provided by the Government’s road-map is filling many small business owners with renewed confidence. We live in hope that the virus stays in retreat so the remaining indicative dates for unlocking can be met, enabling our vital night time economies, offices and travel and tourism businesses to get back to it as well.”

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