Companies Beginning To Show Signs of Stability

Businesses across Ireland are returning to stability, according to a cross-border survey.

InterTradeIreland’s latest business monitor found that 64 per cent of firms have either maintained or increased their sales over the last quarter.

It is the most positive sales performance figures gathered by the body in two yeas.

The number of firms reporting a decrease in employees is at its lowest (over the same period at just 10 per cent.

InterTradeIreland said the report also shows companies exporting and trading across the border were outperforming those relying solely on their home market.

The body’s strategy and policy director Aidan Gough said: “The road to recovery has proven to be long and challenging but there are now some positive trends emerging from our survey of businesses both north and south this quarter.

“The business environment is stabilising, with over half of companies describing their business as stable (51 per cent), the haemorrhaging of jobs has stemmed and exporters are doing well.

However there is still a long way to go in terms of companies experiencing growth, with only 13 per cent indicating that they are in expansion mode at the moment.

“Nevertheless, the results point to an expectation of a potential uplift in sales and employment numbers which are good indicators of business confidence.

“There remain, however, potential stumbling blocks on the road to full recovery. The issue of rising costs, particularly energy costs and the costs of overheads, is posing a real challenge to businesses while cash flow problems related to repayment of debt and access to finance could yet derail the undoubted upward momentum.

“We are now at a critical juncture. From stabilisation, you can build recovery and so this positive movement of firms into a different place in the business cycle means that businesses can now focus more on strategy and striving for growth again. That doesn’t happen when you are contracting or trying to survive at all costs.”

However, the monitor revealed that just over half of firms across Ireland do not have a formal business plan in place.

“Although this can be time consuming, having a strategic plan pays off in the long-run as it ensures firms are focusing their resources in the right areas of the business,” said Mr Gough.