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SMEs start to find their feet again

Small and medium-sized Swiss enterprises (SMEs) have succeeded in stabilising their turnover in the first quarter at last year’s levels, according to a UBS survey.

The bank noted that although SMEs are reporting an improvement in business, profits and employment decreased “modestly” in the first quarter.

While SMEs in the industrial, service and retail sectors expected turnover to increase in the second quarter, and the building sector saw sales levelling off at last year’s figures, tourism continued to fear declining revenues.

The survey, carried out among 470 SMEs and 170 large companies, found that tourism was taking longer to recover from the recession than other sectors, with SMEs posting a further decline in guest numbers.

The SMEs do not expect either rising sales or earnings growth for the second quarter, and the guest numbers they have forecast tend to be even more negative compared with the first quarter.

In a related development, the Bakbasel economics research institute forecast on Thursday that the summer tourism season in Switzerland (May-October) would see a modest decline of 0.7 per cent in the number of hotel overnight stays.

It said domestic demand would remain stable, while that from eurozone countries would fall markedly, compensated to some extent by increased business from the United States.

Bakbasel added that sustainable growth for Swiss tourism was not foreseen before the summer of 2011. and agencies


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