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As retail trading suffers in the weakened economy, small businesses all over the UK are working harder than ever in the period leading to Christmas. Research conducted by Costco and American Express reveals that 65 percent of the businesses questioned are working more hours than they have previously. The largest percentage of businesses with extended hours was reported in East Anglia, with three quarters working longer hours.

The North East is close behind East Anglia, with 73 percent working longer hours and 69 percent in Yorkshire and the Humber. Trading conditions are also reported as being much worse by 69 percent of respondents, with business costs being much higher currently than in 2010. The highest percentage of businesses to report higher trading costs came from Yorkshire and the Humber, with 80 percent, while East Anglia were close behind with 79 percent.

Over a third of the businesses surveyed said they would open even longer hours during the period up to Christmas, to maximise retail opportunity. Stock management was the main issue for most companies, as paying in advance for stock was a concern for cashflow. The managing director of Costco, Steve Pappas said:

“We understand the challenges that small businesses are facing and that it’s important to strike the right balance between maintaining cashflow and investing in sufficient stock to make the most of the busy festive period.”

A large number of small businesses, 85 percent say that they rely on credit cards to manage cashflow. A large number also say that remaining flexible financially is the main challenge for 2012.

About The Author

Gary Fields

Content Writer working alongside our expert accountants to bring you the latest Tax and Accounting news.

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