Experian reveals increase in the number of businesses reporting sales growth

news release

Experian reveals increase in the number of businesses reporting sales growth

Analysis highlights top 10 UK towns with biggest increase in firms reporting strong growth
Hull tops the table as the UK city to see the biggest increase

Nottingham, Thursday 28 March 2013 - An extensive study published today by Experian, the global information services company, has revealed a significant improvement in the number of businesses reporting strong year-on-year growth*.

Experian's BusinessIQ analysis shows that pre-2008, approximately one third of businesses in the UK achieved sales growth in excess of 10 per cent, but this figure fell to a quarter during 2008-2010.  The latest analysis has found that by the end of 2011, 32 per cent of businesses were back to achieving strong sales growth rates.

The study, which analysed the most recent set of available accounts of 150,000 UK businesses that reported turnover between 2008 and 2011, reveals the towns and cities that saw the highest proportion of businesses reporting strong growth in sales in each of the two-year periods 2008-2010 and 2009-2011. The study also reveals which geographical areas have seen the greatest increase in these businesses.
Hull topped the table as the city where businesses experienced the highest level of improved sales growth in the country. Between 2009 and 2011, over a third of businesses in Hull (36 per cent) achieved revenue growth of over 10 per cent per year compared to the 2008-2010 period when only 21 per cent of businesses in the city were achieving this level of growth.

Nine out of the 10 towns and cities that saw the biggest increases in the number of businesses reporting strong sales growth were either in the Midlands or the North. The only exception was Newport in Wales.

top ten most improved towns and cities

Source: Experian  

Max Firth, UK Managing Director for Experian’s Business Information Services division, said: “Many of the towns and cities highlighted as showing the biggest improvements in sales growth were widely believed to be struggling during the period analysed.

“Places like Stoke-on-Trent, Hull, Wolverhampton and Birmingham are incubating some strong businesses that have demonstrated the ability to grow significantly, even in the tough economic climate that existed between 2010 and 2011. If businesses such as these can be nurtured to sustain their growth, it should lead to improved prosperity for those areas. The businesses themselves need to harness opportunities through careful monitoring of the business climate, so that they can actively seek growth opportunities and minimise risk.”

Midlands and North take the lead
Notably, Wolverhampton and Stockport experienced the greatest improvement from a relatively poor starting position (both had fewer than 20 per cent of firms achieving strong sales growth in the 2008-2010 period). Others, such as Newport and, in particular, Stoke-on-Trent, stand out as performing consistently well – heading the table for the towns and cities that have seen the most consistent growth, as well as appearing in the top 10 improving list.

Areas showing consistent sales growth
Experian's BusinessIQ analysis has also revealed the towns and cities that have managed to retain the highest percentage of businesses achieving strong sales growth throughout the period.

In order to make a fair comparison with other towns and cities London was split into eight separate geographical areas. Whilst Stoke-on-Trent and Newport also made it on to the most improved list based on year-on-year figures for 2010-2011, London and Cambridge held their position among the UK’s top ten.

Top ten consistent growth towns 

Source: Experian

Manufacturing-led recovery
Comparing over 45 sectors, Experian’s BusinessIQ analysis found that manufacturing dominated the top five most improved industries, with manufacturing of rubber and plastic goods topping the table with 39 per cent of businesses in this sector reporting high growth rates in 2011 compared to just –17 per cent  in 2010. Outside of manufacturing, labour recruitment and provision of personnel and land and water transport industries ranked highly.

Top ten improving industries

Source: Experian

Underpinned by Experian’s unrivalled business data, which includes the biggest payment performance data on the market, BusinessIQ  enables firms of all sizes to quickly and accurately monitor and manage all the risks and opportunities associated with customers and suppliers, helping businesses to guide their way through financial challenges and minimise risk.

For more information visit: http://www.experian.co.uk/businessiq/what-is-businessiq.html


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Experian’s analysis is based on reported sales growth between 2008 -2010 and 2009-2011 by all UK businesses reporting turnover as part of their annual accounts with Companies House during this period. Towns with low or no businesses reporting turnover as part of their annual accounts were not included.

The top ten most improving towns and industries were ranked based on the percentage increase in number of businesses in the area reporting strong growth from 2008-10 accounts to the most recent available accounts for 2009-11.

The top ten towns/cities that saw consistent growth were ranked based on the average growth of businesses registered in the area over the two periods.

*Historically a third of businesses may expect to achieve at least 10 per cent turnover growth in sales per annum over any given two-year period. Most businesses would regard 10 per cent turnover growth per year as a strong healthy performance in any economic climate, especially if it is sustained over a couple of years. 

Mrs Gemma Wright
PR Manager
0115 992 2645 / 07813 854773

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.