Strain on Small Businesses
Some small businesses in Leicester are reporting a fall in sales of as much as 40 per cent. Others say that they haven't seen the growth they were expecting as people are cutting back on luxuries, especially when they're buying food.
Some small businesses in Leicester say that sales have fallen this year by as much as 40 per cent.
Traders on the city's famous Golden Mile say that they've been particularly hard hit, especially in usually high-earning areas such as bridal wear and jewellery.
Other small businesses in formerly prosperous shopping areas like Queens Road in Clarendon Park estimate that sales have dropped by 10 to 15 per cent.
Listen: Strain on small businesses
BBC Leicester's Bridget Blair went to visit traders on Queens Road and BBC Leicester's Ben Jackson spoke to the regional organiser for the Federation of Small Businesses, Maxine Aldred...
Lack of growth
Jill Willis, who owns Green Pleasant Whole Foods on Queens Road, says that although trade hasn't gone down, she hasn't seen the growth she was expecting either.
She says that loyal customers have prevented the loss of too much business, but she was hoping for more than just stability this year.
Jill's spoken to other small business owners on Queens Road and she says they all have a similar story:
"Generally they're all depressed, business is down. If you look out at the street there's not many people around, you can park outside, which is unusual along here."
Cafes and restaurants say they haven't experienced to much of a drop in sales yet, but they're worried that if the downturn continues then it will affect them too.
Weathering the storm
So what can small businesses do to weather the storm?
Maxine Aldred from the Federation of Small Businesses says it's vital to make sure they're as efficient as possible and not wasting money unnecessarily:
"They need to focus, they need to make a strategy and they need to look very closely at things like energy contracts for example...
"They need to make sure that their contract terms...are the best terms they can get, shop around for competitive deals and make sure that they work out on their renewal...
"Businesses need to spread their finance, investigate any grants, any local funding that may be available, and there's business organisations out there that can help them on that, and listen to their advisers.
"Banks don't want to see businesses going under, it's not in anybody's interest...so they will do what they can where they can to help."
Listen: Cutting Back
So what are people cutting back on that's causing problems for small businesses and others? BBC Leicester's Emily Simpson went into Leicester city centre to find out...
Shoppers say that their switching from branded products to supermarkets' own, cutting back on mobile phone usage and not going out to socialise in the evenings as much as they used to.
One woman said that she always tries to choose products on special offer now:
"Just got to watch your spending, food's gone up so you've got to cut back. Whatever's cheap or buy-one-get-one-free at the moment."
last updated: 02/10/2008 at 13:22