Domestic-oriented companies have done better
The scale of the falls in the big sectors masked encouraging signs elsewhere. Excluding those three major industries, revenues rose 2.5% as companies exposed to the UK’s improving economy grew sales. Building materials and construction companies, especially the housebuilders, saw booming sales, while retailers (outside the supermarket sector) benefitted from improved consumer spending. Media and support services also traded strongly.
It is not just sales that have disappointed across the 350. Operating profits for this cohort of companies fell by two fifths compared to a year ago (-38.5% like for like), dropping to £55bn as profit margins were squeezed across the majority of sectors. This was the lowest level of operating profit since at least 2007, when Profit Watch UK’s records began.