Relief for retailers as re-opening powers resurgence in confidence

The re-opening of shops provided a much-needed relief for retailers in the last two weeks, as the number of companies with a negative assessment of trading conditions plummeted from more than half (54%) to 37%, according to the latest Opinium-Cebr Business Distress Tracker.

However, the overall business picture remains uncertain, and a third (35%) of UK companies still report a risk of insolvency due to the crisis.

Topline results

For the UK economy as a whole, there was a meagre improvement in the business environment, with the impact of coronavirus on profits falling to its lowest point since the Business Distress Tracker began in mid-April.

The small gains recorded in in the latest wave have offset only a tiny fraction of the damage that has been sustained since the start of the crisis. 1.8 million (35%) firms continue to believe there is a risk of entering insolvency as a result of coronavirus-related disruption, suggesting that the pace of improvement must accelerate for more businesses to feel reassured that they can weather the entirety of this storm.

The re-opening of hotels, restaurants and pubs on 4th July cannot come quickly enough for the hospitality sector, which is among those hit hardest by the lockdown. Nearly three out of four (72%) of businesses in the sector described current trading conditions as bad (31%) or very bad (41%) in the latest wave of the tracker, while nearly one in three (31%) state that there is a moderate (21%) or high (10%) risk of entering insolvency as a result of coronavirus-related disruption.

See the full report here: