Hospitality and leisure firms are forecasting that revenues will rise by more than a fifth in the second quarter as restrictions ease.
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Britain’s small businesses are predicting second quarter sales to rebound at the fastest pace since before the pandemic struck as lockdown restrictions lift further, according to a study.
The latest small business barometer from Barclaycard Payments found that firms are bracing for a 9.8% surge in revenues in the second quarter compared with the previous three months – the highest since the survey began in February 2020.
Hard-hit hospitality and leisure firms are forecasting that revenues will rise by more than a fifth – 21% – with restrictions easing once more on May 17 and then possibly all legal limits on social contact removed from June 21.
The survey, which polled more than 670 senior staff working in UK small businesses, also revealed that 47% of firms expect to increase their workforces over the next year.
More widely, 85% of firms plan to invest in their businesses either through recruitment, new equipment or technology or marketing spend.
Rob Cameron, chief executive of Barclaycard Payments, said: “As restrictions lift, it’s reassuring to see the highest level of SME optimism since the barometer launched, with expectations of a long overdue boost for the hospitality and leisure sector.
“With the confidence to plan ahead, small businesses have turned their attention to bulking up their workforce, as well as investing in technology and marketing.”
But some businesses are concerned that the path will not be smooth over the summer, with fears that after an initial burst, consumers may hold back their spending until June 21, according to the report.
In a sign that costs for consumers are set to rise, the survey also showed that 21% of hospitality and leisure firms are planning to hike their prices.
And households will need to get organised for the summer, with 35% of hospitality firms predicting that customers will need to book at least five days in advance to secure a reservation for mid-June.