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GRANT Thornton’s latest Northamptonshire Limited report has revealed mixed fortunes for the county’s businesses, saying many are beginning to succumb to the pressures of both economic and Brexit uncertainties.

The Northamptonshire Limited report is an in-depth, annual health check of the top 100 privately owned businesses in the county. The 2019 report revealed that fortunes for local businesses have been mixed over the past 12 months – while some companies have performed strongly, others are facing challenging times.

For the first time, this year’s report has focused on sustainability and Grant Thornton has partnered with the University of Northampton to investigate how businesses in Northamptonshire are reporting on their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

The headline findings show that profits have decreased by seven per cent, from £344m to £311m, the first time in seven years Northamptonshire Limited has shown a fall in this area.

However, there are some promising signs within the findings. Turnover increased by six per cent from £5.34bn to £5.65bn, and there are also strong signs of an appetite for future growth with a net increase in fixed assets of 6.2 per cent, to £1.4bn. Meanwhile, the total number of employees has risen by 2.5 per cent (to a total of 25,616) and average salaries have grown by 4.5 per cent to £35,190.

Mike Hughes, who leads the advisory team at Grant Thornton’s Northampton office, said: “Businesses in the county are known for their strength and resilience, but the lingering uncertainties over Brexit and current economic challenges seem to have finally taken their toll. Of the 100 firms we looked at, only 51 saw an increase in profits compared to 61 last year and a peak of 73 a couple of years ago, although this is reflective of what we are seeing in other regions.

“That said, it’s not all bad news. There are businesses which have performed incredibly well – 13 of the top 100 saw profit increases of more than 50 per cent and have clearly been able to benefit from the new market conditions. Meanwhile an increase in the number of employees, and a 4.5 per cent average salary increase will help the local economy. Ongoing investment in assets such as plant, equipment and vehicles is also evidence that businesses have confidence in future growth.”

To download a copy of the report, visit: www.grantthornton.co.uk/office-locations/northampton/northamptonshire-limited/

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