Here’s a Claus for concern, Britain has been hit by a double Christmas blow as the country faces an alarming shortage of Santa Clauses and Christmas tree sellers, with levels at some of their lowest in four years.
With less than a month to go until Christmas, small business insurance provider Simply Business’ data has revealed there are a third less (33% drop) professional Santa Clauses working in the UK compared to last year, and a 39% drop in the amount of Christmas tree sellers.
It comes as thousands of small business owners across the country are being hit with surging energy bills and rising costs – forcing many out of business.
The SME Insights Report, published by Simply Business, revealed over half (54%) of small business owners believe rising fuel and energy costs are one of their greatest threats to survival, while 70% say that rising costs across the board are their biggest challenge this year.
With consumers also hit by rising energy bills and record inflation, small business owners are set to feel the squeeze as they struggle to pass on rising costs to customers.
Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business said, “Our data has revealed a worrying drop in the number of Christmas tree sellers and professional Santa Clauses in the UK. As we enter the festive period, there’s no doubt this has the potential to dampen the Christmas cheer.
“No small business is immune from the impact of rising costs, and Christmas tree sellers and professional Santa Clauses are no different. The fact is, wider economic challenges will have forced many to shut up shop or change profession.
“We’ve seen countless examples of innovation, resilience and resourcefulness in the self-employed community over the past few challenging years, but we must recognise that the current climate is having a clear and deep impact on small business owners.
“The festive trading period is a vital time of year for the self-employed, accounting for 20% of their annual revenue on average. It goes without saying that for certain trades who rely on this period – like professional Santa Clauses and Christmas tree sellers – that percentage will be significantly higher.
“It’s vital that we support small businesses this Christmas. They’re the lifeblood of our local communities and collectively contribute trillions of pounds a year in turnover. They are, quite simply, the backbone of the economy.”