The number of SMEs in the renting and operating retail sector has grown by 16% in the past five years, making it one of the top 30 industries for SME growth according to a study by Hampshire Trust Bank.
The annual research in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) reveals that the number of SMEs has grown in total by 23% between 2011 and 2016, with office admin and business support demonstrating the highest growth (76%).
The number of smaller firms in the construction of domestic buildings sector has risen by 38% over the same time period.
Despite the positive growth real estate SMEs, which include renting and operating real estate, do not feel as confident about the long-term future of their industry, compared to 2016 data.
The study found 53% of the real estate sector’s smaller firms are optimistic over the long-term, with economic uncertainty (46%) and regulation (32%) were key barriers to growth.
On the other hand, the transportation and distribution sector were the most positive, with 60% of respondents stating that they were optimistic about the long-term economic prospects of their sector.
Mark Sismey-Durrant, chief executive officer at Hampshire Trust Bank, said: “SMEs are thinking long-term about their business and for many sectors this is a positive projection forward.
“The renting and operating retail sector has shown considerable growth over the past five years. We back the growth ambitions firms are demonstrating yet with SMEs in the sector displaying lower levels of optimism, more needs to be done to boost their confidence levels.”
Nina Skero, head of macroeconomics at CEBR, said: “The service industries account for around 78% of UK GDP, hence it is encouraging to see that over the past five years’ growth in the number of SMEs has been particularly strong in these sectors.
“The buoyant confidence among SMEs is a further sign that these businesses will continue supporting economic growth.
“The UK is undergoing a period of great economic change and cultivating this optimism must be a priority.”