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Small firms in Britain are now showing positive sales performances for the first time in two years and new business starts continue to rise, according to the latest Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain from The Open University Business School.

With the exception of small retailers, a balance of small firms in all sectors reports an improved sales performance. Small firms are also generally more positive about prospects for sales in the next quarter, with hotels and restaurants being the only sector not expecting any improvement. In the last survey, hotels and restaurants reported the poorest sales performance (-30% over the previous 12 months); though it remains negative, this quarter’s figure has improved (to -4%).

In terms of employment, small firms remain fairly static. However, for the first time in two years, small manufacturers are reporting increases in employment (+13% over the last 12 months). The Survey indicates considerable...

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