Firms cut back on Christmas parties

A not-so-merry Christmas for some businesses

A not-so-merry Christmas for some businesses

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HARD-UP businesses are cancelling Christmas parties for staff in a bid to rein back spending.

A recent survey showed about two-fifths of firms won’t splash out on a yuletide bash.

And of those 40 per cent said it was as a direct result of the need to slash outgoings.

The figures are drawn from the latest Close Business Barometer, a survey that canvasses the views of small and medium businessesfrom a range of sectors on the issues that affect their business.

Ian Steward, local head of Close Invoice Finance, said: “Businesses in the North West are experiencing some of the most trying economic times we’ve seen for many years.

“So it’s hardly surprising to learn that budgets for things like client entertaining and Christmas parties for staff have been axed.

“Perhaps more startling is that six per cent of businesses polled said that they will close down for a shorter time that usual over the festive period, with 66 per cent saying they will close for three days less than in previous years.”

Of those who stated that they will stay open for longer than usual, almost all said that they simply couldn’t afford to close for any longer than necessary.

“I think there’s a fear that customers may go elsewhere if you aren’t open,” said Mr Steward.

“There are other seasonal issues that affect productivity at this time of year too, such as bad weather conditions and an increased number of employee sick days.

“It’s the combination of these things that has left small and medium sized businesses with little option but to keep trading over and above the norm this year.”

The Close Business Barometer also showed that 36 per cent of businesses in the North West are worried about employee sick days in the run up to Christmas.

A further 56 per cent stated that they have already reminded staff that unauthorized absence will result in disciplinary action.

Mr Steward added; “The bottom line is that businesses, many of whom are already struggling, just can’t allow staff to take more days off than strictly necessary.

“When staff aren’t there, their wages and other overheads still need to be paid, but nothing is coming back in.

“A robust cash flow is essential to survival.”

Close Invoice Finance is offering a lifeline to businesses in the UK, enabling them to unlock up to 95 per cent of the value of their unpaid invoices immediately.

The process improves cash flow and lets owner managers get on with the day-to-day running of the business in these difficult financial times.