SOURCE: Small Business Research Board

March 10, 2008 12:18 ET

Small Retailers Business Confidence Drops Nearly 10 Points; Reduced Hiring Plans Steepest Decliner Among Key Indicators Says Small Business Research Board Report

NORTHFIELD, IL--(Marketwire - March 10, 2008) - The Small Business Research Board (SBRB) Retail Industry Small Business Confidence Index (R-SBCI) dropped to 35 during the fourth quarter of 2007, a decline of 9.67 points from the prior period.

While all three major indicators were lower and contributed to the decline in the index, reduced plans for hiring during the next 12 months showed the sharpest decrease. Only 23% of the owners and managers of retail operations said they plan to increase hiring, 17 points fewer than the 40% who said they had intended to increase hiring at the time of the last study, according to the SBRB report co-sponsored by International Profit Associates.

This is the second issuance of a retail confidence index by the SBRB. The SBRB first report an R-SBCI of 44.67 during the third quarter of 2007.

Along with hiring, confidence in the direction of the economy and revenue projections for the next 12 months are the other two key indicators used to determine the overall confidence index.

The poll of retail companies indicated that only 31% are expecting the economy to improve during the next 12 months, four points fewer than the 35% who believed the economy would improve as reported in the third quarter of 2007.

Of the respondents in the same group, 51% said they expect revenues to increase during the coming 12 months versus 59% who predicted revenue increases during the third quarter.

The current retail industry confidence index is 1.33 points higher than the 33.67 reported for all U.S. small businesses during the fourth quarter of last year.

More than 950 small business owners participated in the nationwide poll. The universe of participants is developed from among small businesses across the United States. The SBRB study is a voluntary survey conducted quarterly.

The Small Business Research Board ascertains and reports the opinions of small business owners and managers on a wide variety of topics related to their own businesses as well as national and international issues that may impact their operations. The SBRB conducts these studies for the benefit of small business owners and managers. The SBRB also provides opportunities for third parties to gain real time insight into the attitudes of small businesses nationwide through the independently conducted research.

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