Despite high inflation, rising energy prices and a tighter labour market, two in five London firms (42%) expect this Christmas trading period to be merry and bright compared to last year, according to the latest insight from the Lloyds Bank Business Barometer.
Those predicting a bumper festive period cited having more time to prepare this year (32%), while greater availability of staff was cited by 29% of firms. Those expecting a worse Christmas trading period said they were struggling due to reduced demand from customers (8%).
Two-thirds (69%) of London businesses surveyed said that Christmas was important for their future prospects, with a quarter (25%) of firms reporting to be Christmas ready. However, three-fifths (61%) said they are not yet fully prepared for the festive period.
When asked what could help firms prepare more effectively, 37% said they wanted more support with rising costs, and 35% said that access to skilled staff would help. Greater access to more temporary staff was also high on businesses’ wish list, with 23% saying that being able to fill positions at short notice would boost Christmas trading.
Becci Wicks, regional director for London at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said, “The capital has always attracted mass crowds in the run-up to Christmas, with Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and the bright lights of Oxford Street among the many popular destinations for festive days out. So it’s no surprise that over two-fifths of firms here in the capital are looking forward to increased revenues this year.
“However, while a quarter of London businesses feel ready to make the most of the seasonal spike in demand, the majority still have work to do to get themselves ready for the busy period of trading. We’ll remain firmly by their side to help them navigate rising costs and invest in the staff they need to respond to the increase in demand that this time of year brings.”