Big increase in financial distress amongst Bristol companies

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pound coinsBristol saw a 23% increase in the numbers of firms in ‘significant’ financial distress in the second quarter of the year, compared to the same period last year, new figures have shown.

4,035 businesses in the city have faced some level of financial distress in Q2 2017 compared to 3,276 in the same period 12 months ago, data released by the independent business recovery specialists, Begbies Traynor.

Nationally, 329,834 firms reported ‘significant’ financial distress in Q2, a rise of 25% on the same period last year and the highest quarter-on-quarter increase for three years.

Amongst the sectors to fare worst in Bristol were construction (up from 453 firms in Q2 2016 to 531 in the same period this year), with a similar picture for those in automotive (up 14% from 123 to 140). Financial services firms (climbing 27% from 70 to 89), and bars and restaurants, where 176 firms reported a ‘significant’ increase in distress levels in Q2 2017 compared to 115 in Q2 last year, also showed increased distress levels.

Paul Wood, partner at Begbies Traynor’s Bristol office, said: “The rising levels of distress in the property and construction sectors indicate that these sectors are lacking strong foundations as they face headwinds from Brexit, the rising cost of imported goods and skills shortages which will drive further wage pressures.

“In the UK’s consumer facing industries, weak real wage growth and rising levels of personal debt continue to put a strain on the retail, bars, restaurants and leisure sectors, where many businesses have been reluctant to fully pass on the inflationary impact of the weakened pound and higher staff costs from the National Living Wage, for fear of losing customers on price in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

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