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Wednesday, January 16th, 2002

It is claimed that consumer spending is sustaining the UK economy. In survey BB43, December 2001, we focused on sales, stocks and investment plans. Results are summarised here but for the complete analysis please visit


  • Our panellists, who comprise a mix of enterprises from retailers and services to distributors and manufacturers, have a wide range of experience in sales patterns. 32% found sales more buoyant than in November and December 2000 while for 30% sales were at the same level. 38% experienced less buoyant sales. Expectations, compared to the same time last year, were slightly more optimistic with 40% expecting more buoyant sales, 31% expecting the same and 29% expecting less buoyancy in sales.

  • 65% of panellists carry stocks of finished products and of these 28% have higher levels than in November and December 2000(18% of total panellists), while 30% have lower levels (20% of total panellists). 42% are carrying the same level of stocks (27% of total panellists). Future expectations are not vastly different: in the first three months of 2002, 22% of the stock-carrying panellists expect levels to be higher, 31% expect them to be lower and 42% expect levels to remain the same.

  • In terms of planned investment in physical assets other than stocks, 30% of all respondents have increased levels since December 2000, and 36% have left them the same. 34% have lower levels of planned investment compared to December 2000, including nearly 11% which have much lower levels.

  • Training is one area which has been more stable - 51% of those for whom it is applicable say they are spending the same amount on training now compared with December 2000, while 30% are spending more and 19% are spending less.

  • Only 4.5% of panellists thought that banks improved their efficiency by centralisation of business banking onto a call center, while 24% thought efficiency was the same, but 54.5% thought efficiency was reduced including 24% who thought it was significantly reduced.

  • The Core Questions responses showed the following results this month:

  • Overall constraint on businesses due to shortages of skills was very slightly higher in December, but the levels of the last three months show a marked reduction compared to the previous six months.

  • The average level of business constraint due to lack of finance changed very little in December.

  • Average constraint due to low market demand showed a small increase for the third month running and is now at the highest point for the last year.

  • The profile of growth over the last three months in December showed a small upwards change from November, with most arising from the services/retail sector. Expectations about growth over the next three months were moderately optimistic with Distribution showing the greatest expected increase. Medium size businesses are more bullish now about the next three months than in November.

Listed below are extracts from feedback received in Survey BB43 December 2001.

Comments are listed under sector headings.

Views expressed are those of individual panellists and may not represent those of the University.

Production & Manufacturing

On Q7, "To what extent has the tendency of banks to centralise business banking onto a call centre affected the efficiency of the operation?" Our bank has not done this, if it did it would be time to find a new bank.


Ba Humbug!!! Christmas has got in the way again, with customer shut downs and people holding off ordering until after the break!! Lets hope people come back refreshed and with renewed confidence.


For the last three months, business has remained reasonably steady! The next three should be interesting, considering the world business climate. The impending imminent slow down. / Tel: 0115 84 66860.

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