RTTNews - Monday, Ireland's Small Firms' Association's summer business sentiment survey showed that small firms continued to remain under serious pressure, but the pace of deterioration was slowing.

About 74% of the respondents said the current business environment remained poor or very poor, while 68% expect the business enviornment to be so in the next three months.

Sector-wise, about 86% of Distribution companies said the current environment was poor to very poor, which is the highest among the sectors. The corresponding figure is 78% for Services and 72% for Manufacturing.

Further, the equivalent figures for expectations in 3 months time stood at 78% for Distribution, 71% for Services and 68% for Manufacturing.

The survey results also showed that while 10% of firms were more confident about their 'own businesses' in the current period, 42% were less confident about their business in the next three months.

Further, while 46% expect turnovers to decrease in the next three months, 50% anticipate profitability to fall in the next period and 43% forecast domestic sales to decline over the next three months. Also, half the companies surveyed indicated that they would restructure, decrease in size or close down in the next three months compared to 47% who expect to maintain their current employee strength.

The SFA survey was conducted during May among 584 companies employing 11,932 persons.

For comments and feedback: contact editorial@rttnews.com