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Irish business now in full growth mode

Monday, February 17 10:29:21

There's been a significant increase in the number of firms throughout Ireland who say they are now back in growth mode.

The latest quarterly Business Monitor released today by InterTradeIreland reveals that the percentage of businesses experiencing growth has jumped from 10pc this time last year to 40pc in the final quarter of 2013.

The upward trend is consistent across all sectors but it is manufacturing and construction that have seen the biggest positive change in performance.

Sales performance continues to improve this quarter with 38pc of firms reporting increased sales compared to 31pc in Q3. Manufacturing, construction and business services are driving the recovery, with retail and leisure lagging behind.

Encouragingly the number of businesses indicating they are winding down, contracting or in survival mode has almost halved, falling from 28pc in Q3 to 15pc this quarter. Despite the positive growth and an increasing sense of business confidence, employment levels in most businesses continue to remain stable.

Aidan Gough, Strategy and Policy Director at InterTradeIreland said there is a mood of growing optimism sweeping across businesses but it is tinged with real concerns over rising costs, energy costs in particular, remain significant for many businesses.

"From our findings, though, it is evident that more firms are now undertaking a regular review of costs (86pc) and taking a more strategic approach to managing them better with the result that more businesses are taking advantage of alternative solutions such as changing energy provider or monitoring their energy usage more carefully," he said.

"Over the last few quarters we have seen a slow but very consistent improvement in both economies. In previous quarters we have seen businesses move from survival mode to stabilisation. This quarter more businesses than ever are reporting growth. The results of the survey, coupled with some recent announcements of substantial inward investment and export deals, are clear signs that the recovery has taken hold. However, there is still a need for caution as many micro-enterprises and sectors serving the domestic market are still experiencing a difficult trading position," Mr Gough added.