“Business confidence in the South West higher than the national average. [chartered accountants ICAEW’s Business Confidence Monitor]
During the very slow months of deepest winter, there was a fair amount of bad news for the hospitality industry – with fears around the future of the Royal York & Faulkner Hotel and the actual closure of the Digger’s Rest in Woodbury Salterton.
As Sidmouth Herald’s regular commentator on the state of the business community, Vince Page noted in January, enterprises need to be entrepreneurial:
Sadly the world does not owe us a living and if you want it, you have to go and get it, it’s just a lot tougher at the moment to get it, which should encourage inspired decisions and innovation, not doom and gloom.
In May, the chair of the South West Business Council made similar, determined remarks:
We should not forget that the owners and managers of these businesses are a resilient bunch. Many are family businesses, some going back four to five generations. They will fight to survive and keep reinventing themselves to be attractive to the new customers within this market. We are now moving into the beginning of the tourist season.
Now we are into the high season for the hospitality industry – so how are things going six months on?
The good news is that pubs, hotels and restaurants are still getting huge acclaim – for example, The Masons Arms in Branscombe as part of the National Pub & Bar Awards 2023. Recently, a flagship development began, with the building of the region’s first net-zero carbon hotel. And this month, another prominent Sidmouth esplanade business, the Hotel Riviera, attracted “multiple offers” and was sold fairly easily.
Today, we learn today “business confidence in the South West higher than the national average”:
Beverley Waters, ICAEW regional director, South West, said: “It’s encouraging that business confidence in the South West is outperforming the UK average, standing at more than double the region’s historical average, but challenges remain, leaving optimism fragile. Our region is experiencing the UK’s weakest growth in domestic sales, as well as poor availability of skills, declining customer demand and high inflation.”
And yet “corporate insolvencies across the South West have risen by 10 per cent” – although this is happening across the UK.
So, how well are businesses doing in East Devon?