On 04.11.11, In Essex news, By Andrew Taylor
Neighbouring Southend-on-Sea has seen some of the highest number of business failures over the past few years, according to recent research. A report by accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young found that Southend ranked second bottom only to Poole, in a league table for business creation. Fellow seasiders Blackpool came in fourth from bottom, with Preston third.
The study painted a bleak overall picture for UK businesses, with more than 43,000 businesses closing in 2009, only Aberdeen (ranked 1st) and Oxford (ranked 2nd) created more businesses than they lost in 2009. Dundee, Edinburgh and Manchester also ranked well, with London falling from top slot to 24th in one year.
UHY Hacker Young found that despite the push for staycations, seaside towns lacked the economic diversity of bigger cities and were too reliant on tourism. Marc Waterman of UHY Hacker Young said;
“Seaside towns have never recovered from the collapse of their traditional maritime and tourist industries. Whilst these towns have tried to diversify their economies from reliance on a dwindling tourist spend, that diversification has been a mixed success… Any bounce from the staycation was wiped out by the cancellation of business conferences, exhibitions and seminars that seaside towns would normally do very well from.”
The findings of the report are obviously very disappointing for the local Southend area, especially after huge investment in the seafront and highways by the local council. The University of Essex, in partnership with Business Link, also ran a series of free business courses to encourage entrepreneurship. I recently attended the ‘Mary Portas – Queen of shops’ course on being better in the retail sector and although fellow business owners were feeling the downturn, confidence and morale were still high. A few business owners were concerned by the growth and impact of online shopping, believing that it has led to a reduction in customers visiting and buying locally. As you’d expect I believe the web and in particular ecommerce should be embraced, selling online opens up a huge new potential customer base, enabling your business to take orders at any time of day, UK or worldwide, no matter the weather. I’m aware of a few businesses in the area closing recently but strongly believe that the future of Essex businesses is still bright.