Despite a perceived economic turnaround and growth of 2.2% in 2003, profitability failed to match this recovery, with the decline seen not only in manufacturing, but in most service industries including media, information technology and telecoms.
Sectors like included chemicals, electricals, household goods and leisure and hotels fell to their lowest profitability levels since Experian started compiling the study in the early 1990s, The Guardian reported.
The only sector significantly to buck the trend was building and construction, which has benefited from a recent boom, while their were also upturns in oil, alcoholic beverages, non-food retailers and motor traders.
By region, the sharpest falls occurred in the south-east, with drops also recorded in the West Midlands, the north-west, the north-east and Scotland.
The south-west, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and Northern Ireland all made strong gains. Wales continued its modest recovery after five years of decline while Yorkshire and Humberside confirmed its position as the UK’s most profitable region.
Peter Brooker, the author of the report, said trading conditions remained extremely challenging, especially with the recent sharp increase in the price of oil.
‘The economic outlook does appear to be improving but businesses are operating in a period of great uncertainty and it is likely to be the end of the year before any upturn is reflected by improvement in corporate profitability,’ he said.
Does Darwin's theory apply to taxation? Colin ponders...
The EC has been instructed to draft a European Union (EU) directive authorising an EU financial transaction tax, which would apply to ten of the EU’s 28 member states
Accountancy watchdog the FRC has dropped its investigation into the former chief financial officer of Tesco, nearly two years after the supermarket was engulfed in an accounting scandal
Colin imagines how Apple's logo might change in the wake of the EC's ruling over its Irish tax arrangements