Small UK firms reported a better-than-expected fall in revenue in the second quarter after firms were impacted by the pandemic, according to new research.
The latest Barclaycard Payments SME barometer also revealed that optimism among firms jumped during the quarter after companies traded through the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
At the start of April, SMEs predicted a 28% decline in sales for the quarter.
However, the quarterly figures revealed that companies actually saw a 14% decline in revenues after the period to June was completed.
It said this also resulted in a jump in optimism, with the index reporting a 16-point jump in confidence from the start of the second quarter to the start of the third quarter.
SMEs also said they were proactive in their own recovery plans, with 80% of companies saying they plan to invest over the next 12 months, with new equipment and technology the greatest focus for many firms.
Rob Cameron, chief executive officer of Barclays Payments, said: “SMEs are once again proving their resilience and securing their role at the heart of the UK economy, especially in the face of the challenges posed by coronavirus.
“Despite uncertainty and business disruption, SMEs are outperforming their own revenue expectations and beginning to look to the future by returning to work and thinking about investment.
“We welcome these signs of growth and optimism – and hope that SMEs continue to take advantage of the support available, whether from finance partners or the Government, in order to continue this recovery.”
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “We’ve seen SMEs begin to emerge from lockdown in a place of strength – a huge testament to their resilience and their willingness to seek and take advice.
“It’s heartening to know that the Government support measures and resources have helped our nation’s small businesses during the pandemic.”