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Welsh firms upbeat on Christmas trading period, says new report

Despite high inflation, rising energy prices and a tighter labour market, 29% of Welsh firms expect this Christmas trading period to be merry and bright compared to last year, according to the latest insight from the Lloyds Bank Business Barometer.

Those predicting a bumper festive period cited increased demand (25%), while having more time to get ready for the season was cited by 20% of firms. Those expecting a worse Christmas trading period said they were struggling with increased costs of doing business (16%).

Over half of businesses surveyed said that Christmas was important for their future prospects (58%), with over a fifth of firms reporting to be Christmas ready. However, almost half (48%) said they are not yet fully prepared for the festive period.

When asked what could help firms prepare more effectively, 32% said they wanted more support with rising costs, with 30% saying that access to more skilled staff would help. Better technology was also high on businesses’ wish lists, with 27% saying it would help improve efficiency to boost Christmas trading.

Dave Atkinson, regional director for Wales at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “To see such positive expectations among Welsh business really shows the resilience across the county after such a challenging year. In part, this owes to the region’s thriving hospitality and leisure sector, which stands to see strong levels of footfall this year without the threat of COVID-19 restrictions.

“However, spikes in demand through the festive period can stretch businesses and their customers’ finances alike. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared now to really capitalise on the peak season. We will be by the side of companies across the country to help them deliver a strong end of the year.”