Concerns raised at loss of Chichester firms

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SERIOUS concerns have been raised in the wake of research revealing hundreds of business closures across Chichester in the past two years.

The national study from Experian claimed more than 940 companies folded in the area between February 2010 and February 2012.

Its figures showed there was a five per cent decline year-on-year, with a drop from 9,506 companies to 8,564 in Chichester. But the district council has hit back, believing the economic outlook is improving, with a number of jobs being created.

However, the report findings sparked concern from the Federation of Small Businesses, which expressed fears over a lack of financial support for small and emerging companies.

Paul Formstone, of the organisation, said: ‘It is very sad to hear of businesses closing, but this is something that is happening in all parts of the country.’

The district council believed the area had in fact been witnessing encouraging economic signs.

Paul Over, director for employment and prosperity, highlighted the fact there had been a number of new stores opening in the area as well as companies expanding, including Rolls-Royce, Northshore, Oceanaire and Montezuma’s.

He said: “We monitor business survival rates via the Office for National Statistics. Its latest data shows that Chichester District businesses are doing well. This latest data shows an increase in survival rates of businesses at Year 1; 93.4 per cent for 2009/10. This is above national average of 90.8 per cent ; and increased survival rates of businesses at Year 3; 66.2 per cent for the period 2007-10. The national average is 63 per cent.”