Focus on rise and fall of confidence in city

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The latest Duport Business Confidence Report for Preston reveals there was a rise in the number of company closures during the third quarter of the year.

Company closures in Preston rose significantly during the third quarter, according to figures in a new economic report from company formation specialists, Duport.co.uk.

But the formation of new companies actually grew.

During the three months to September, 363 companies closed, representing a 33 per cent rise on the same period in 2012.

Although there was actually a slight rise in company formations during Q3, net company growth (the number of company formations minus the number of company closures) fell significantly during the period.

However, it’s not all bad news for the area. Peter Valaitis, managing director of Duport.co.uk, said: “Although the numbers we are seeing for Preston are not overwhelmingly positive, the proposals to regenerate the city centre could well have an impact in the coming years.

“Also, our report does show an increasing number of company formations, which could indicate that business confidence is gradually growing.”

Meanwhile, more than a fifth of bosses of small and medium sized firms in the North West say that they have seen staff absence levels rise in the last 12 months, according to the latest research.

The Close Brothers Business Barometer, which canvasses the opinion of SME owners from a variety of sectors across the UK on a quarterly basis, further revealed that over a third of respondents in the region believe their organisation has a problem with employees abusing sick leave.

Almost two thirds of employers surveyed in the North West cited minor illnesses, such as the flu, to be the main cause of employee absence, with post-operative recovery the second most common reason for time off work.

Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance, said: “While the majority of sick leave taken is genuine, absenteeism is a growing problem for many local firms and, if not managed properly, it could have a serious impact.”