POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber regional manager John Murray.
POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber regional manager John Murray. Blainey Woodham

Business looks on the bright side

A NEW survey of business conditions shows Northern Rivers businesses are more optimistic heading into Christmas this year.

The survey by the NSW Business Chamber showed that 38% of businesses expect sales revenue to increase in the Christmas quarter against 25% expecting a drop in sales.

"Strong indicators for the Northern Rivers region for the crucial Christmas quarter are helping to lead a return to an optimistic outlook in the overall state-wide results of the survey," said John Murray, Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber regional manager.

"It's encouraging to see that Northern Rivers business operators believe business conditions, sales revenue and profits will be stronger in the next quarter.

"However their hopes have been dashed before. It will come down to whether consumers return to the shops this Christmas.

"The message to take away from our latest survey is that economic conditions continue to pose significant challenges for businesses across the board in the face of dampened consumer confidence, tough export competition with the higher dollar and a Federal Government that sees the business sector as a cash cow to help engineer its surplus promise."

Also in the survey 30% of businesses reported the current performance of the NSW economy was weaker than the previous quarter compared to 18% who said it was stronger. This is expected to improve in the coming quarter with 30% of businesses expecting the economy to strengthen with only 18% of businesses expecting the economy to weaken further.

Local business expectations for the next quarter are positive, with 26% expecting an improvement, compared with 20% expecting further decline. "The Northern Rivers economy has been slammed over the past year with the closures of a number of larger employers," Mr Murray said.

"The business community is clearly hoping the Christmas trading period and a new year will be a much-needed circuit breaker for the local economy."



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