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May bank holiday weekends to bring £118m boost to UK SMEs

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Small businesses across the UK are set to share an estimated £118m revenue boost from extra bank holiday consumer spending over both bank holiday weekends in May, according to new figures from Paymentsense.

Data from the company’s 70,000 small business customers across the UK, reveals that sales volumes were up 6% over the first May bank holiday weekend in 2018, and then a further 5% over the second, providing UK SMEs with a total estimated boost of £118m.

Garden-related retail spending enjoyed the biggest lift, with transactions up by 248% over both bank holiday weekends, suggesting that May is when many consumers start thinking about their outside spaces again, especially as the colder mornings and evenings start to subside.

The warmer weather also helped increase leisure spending, as pubs, bars and nightclubs enjoyed a near two-thirds (60%) sales lift, followed by hotels at well over a quarter up (28%). Spending on take away and fast food was close behind with a 24% increase over the norm.

Although overall spending was up, not every sector is set to profit from the May bank holiday boost. Last year, dentistry business sales were down around 90% compared to their usual share of trade, followed by estate agents (down 76%), heating and plumbing-related retailers (down 71%), and builders’ merchants (down 62%).

Paymentsense also looked at spending trends over spring (March to May) last year and found the period is also important to motorcycle dealers and photography/camera retailers (both up 32% on average), service stations (up 26%) and golf courses (up 20%).

Regionally, the South East saw the greatest uplift in trade (up 9.2%), followed by the South West (7.6%) and the North East (7.2%). Top cities were Portsmouth (up 26%), Exeter (24%, and Brighton (19%). London was much lower down the list at 2.2%.

Guy Moreve, CMO, Paymentsense said, “Despite recent uncertain times for small businesses, our early analysis suggests that the trend of extra consumer spending across both bank holiday weekends is set to continue this year.

“As spring turns to summer purchasing trends shift with the seasons: our figures suggest May, with its two bank holidays, is the real start of summer for many people – their attention turns away from practical purchasing towards outdoor activities and entertainment.

“Small business owners should also ensure they can take all forms of payments ahead of the upcoming May bank holiday, to really make the most of the expected increase in consumer spending. Given that consumers will only wait a few months for SMEs to start taking cards before they lose patience, it’s also an investment in the long-term success of a new or small business.”




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