Over the past few weeks there have been a number of profit warnings from high profile companies, including Serco, Pearson, RBS, Debenhams and Morrisons, mainly based on their sales in the last quarter of 2013.
Subsequently the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said that the so-called economic recovery was “neither balanced nor sustainable”.
Then last week Chancellor George Osborne, speaking to business leaders in Hong Kong, referred to the economy as being “not secure” and “unbalanced”.
Prior to these developments the overall message coming from Government was far more positive with unemployment falling faster than expected and predictions that the economic recovery would consolidate throughout 2014.
There had been plenty of voices warning that the recovery was far too dependent on consumer-led spending and the property market but they went unheeded.
What has changed?
Now it seems the ONS figures due to be released next week are expected to reinforce this latest message of an unbalanced and fragile recovery too reliant on consumer spending.
Could it be that we are being prepared for an unpalatable budget which the Chancellor is due to deliver in three weeks’ time?
The message for SMEs remains that caution is warranted, close attention to cash flow is still in order and ever greater efforts to grow are needed.
As an SME owner are you more confident than you were a year ago – or less?