More firms finally cotton on to Brexit says report

InterTradeIreland's Aidan Gough
Gary McDonald Business Editor

BUSINESSES are finally cottoning on to Brexit, and are doing their best to plan as best they can, a survey says.

For the best part of a year, less then five per cent of firms surveyed for the quarterly InterTradeIreland Business Monitor said they had put any measures in place for what might happen after next March, when the UK and EU go their separate ways.

But that figure has shot up to 20 per cent in the latest report, which also says that 24 per cent of SMEs are deferring investment because of Brexit, while 30 per cent are concerned about the impact on sales.

The monitor, covering the April-June quarter, shows that 46 per cent of the 750 businesses surveyed claim to be in growth mode, the highest since 2011.

But once you dig down, the economic picture becomes more complex, with significant challenges on the horizon and mixed sentiment across sectors.

Smaller firms are finding the terrain toughest, and on a sectoral level, the number of retail and construction businesses in difficulties has increased (in the building sector 53 per cent are reporting that new competitors are entering the market, while more than half say profit margins remain tight).

Aidan Gough from InterTradeIreland said: “The number of firms preparing for Brexit is increasing all the time, which we see for ourselves in the demand for our supports and services, in particular the big spike in our bespoke Brexit Advisory Service.

"But businesses can't afford to be complacent, as 80 per cent of firms still have no plans to deal with Brexit.”

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