Monday, February 25 10:49:18
While sales performances for the majority of businesses around Ireland remain stagnant, manufacturing and business services companies are doing far better than the average and posting some impressive sales growth.
InterTradeIreland's latest quarterly Business Monitor published today shows that manufacturing and business services companies are also optimistic about the year ahead, with expectations to continue to increase sales and employee numbers.
The Q4 2012 Business Monitor, which surveyed over 1,000 businesses north and south in January, also revealed that 79pc of companies indicated that their Christmas 2012 sales levels remained similar (51pc) or decreased (28pc) when compared with Christmas 2011. An examination of these figures reveals that 45pc experienced the same sales as 2011 in the retail and distribution area and 61pc in the leisure, hotels and catering sectors.
This quarter, the largest business survey on the island, showed that those who export or who have had cross-border sales are much more likely to report increased sales and less likely to be affected by new competitors to the market. They are also more optimistic about increasing sales and employee numbers in the next year. The report suggested that manufacturing (39pc) and business services (33pc) were most likely to be engaged in exporting which may explain why they are outperforming the other sectors. However, the overall picture of general export activity remains disappointing with less than three in 10 businesses selling abroad.
The business monitor also highlighted how firms across the island are failing to recognise and exploit the benefits of innovation. 70pc of companies had not developed any new products or services in the past three years and that the focus of business time, money and effort has been on a 50/50 combination of cost cutting and sales growth, rather than product development.
Commenting on the Q4 2012 Business Monitor findings, Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director or at InterTradeIreland said: "It is encouraging to see a big jump in the number of manufacturing and business services businesses reporting sales growth. As these two sectors are the most likely to export, we can see that those companies that are exporting are doing better than those who are not. However it is clear that the burden of leading economic recovery is falling on too few. We need to get more businesses exporting and indeed innovating."