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March freeze hits UK businesses

March freeze hits UK businesses
24/04/2013

19 Apr 2013

Some 55% of the UK's small firms have been financially impacted by the recent cold weather, a new study suggests.

According to research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the prolonged freezing temperatures in March cost small enterprises around £174 million, with each business losing an average of £1,580.

'We may finally have turned a corner into spring, but it's been a long haul, following the coldest March in 100 years,' commented the FSB's National Policy Chairman, Mike Cherry.

'While a few businesses have managed to take advantage of the weather many have found it difficult to manage. Not only have they had to cope with a lack of demand for products, but many have had to close.'

Meanwhile, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that retail sales for March fell by 0.7% from the previous month.

The ONS also revealed that retail sales volumes last month were 0.5% lower when compared with March last year.

'Feedback from department stores, clothing stores and household goods stores suggested that sales were dampened by the weather, as they prepared their stores for the spring season,' the ONS said.

The data has prompted business groups to renew their calls for the Government to help the UK High Street.

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: 'We urge the Government to do all it can to help support enterprise and wealth creation and open up new opportunities for UK firms to exploit both at home and abroad'.

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