Half of Sligo businesses see 60 per cent loss in revenue

Chamber Ireland recently conducted a survey of 1,300 businesses throughout the country showing that more than half are reporting a loss of at least 60 per cent in revenue as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

The findings unfortunately make for grim reading and the trends nationally are mirrored here in Sligo and the wider region.

The survey conducted between April 24 and 28 shows that 85% of businesses nationwide have either scaled back or closed completely.  Most of those surveyed anticipate some recovery in the second half of the year, but still expect revenues to be down 50 per cent from last year.

Our members took part in the Chamber Ireland survey, which has attracted a lot of media attention. The findings show that, like all counties, Sligo businesses are being severely impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions.

More than half the businesses polled around the country, including Sligo, are reporting a decrease in revenue of at least 60 per cent, with smaller businesses most impacted. Some of the biggest challenges facing businesses, according to the survey, are the cash shortages and the costs related to reopening once restrictions are lifted.

The survey also highlights the cash pressures facing business owners and the difficulties and delays they will face when re-opening. These findings come amid growing calls from businesses for a roadmap outlining how restrictions might be lifted over the coming weeks and months to give them a chance to prepare.

The survey shows that most businesses face fixed costs (excluding wages) of between €2,000 and €5,000 a week for rent and stock and that half of firms will need at least two weeks notice before they will be able to re-open, while a quarter will require at least a month. On top of these costs, physical distancing measures for staff and customers are expected to cost an average of €2,000.

Meanwhile, a small minority of businesses in sectors such as agri-food, tourism and hospitality said they do not expect to reopen until 2021. Also, according to the survey, liquidity is becoming a bigger issue, even for businesses which are still operating. More than two thirds have invoices which are outstanding, and many expect to see significant arrears develop. Over half of those surveyed reported that they are now owed €40,000 or more and a significant number of the rest are owed at least €20,000.

The Chamber survey reveals starkly the struggles that local businesses here in Sligo are facing and will continue to face over the coming months. We again ask our members and the people of Sligo to please support these local businesses as much as possible. We would also like to remind our members that we are here to offer support and guidance and will strive to help you overcome these difficulties.