GRTU has today published it's annual Business Performance Survey.
Overall, results have been positive with 36% of respondents claiming that their sales in 2016 increased by between 1 and 30% over sales in 2015 and 29% claiming that they did worse that 2015. The remaining 36% claimed that their turnover was identical to that of 2015.
This survey is conducted by the GRTU research unit which is headed by Marcel Mizzi (GRTU Vice President - Finance & Admin). The number of respondents was 175 and the survey was conducted online and via telephone. The online system employed utilises tokens which means that only persons that possess a token can participate and tokens are sent by email to members. This ensures that respondents cannot vote twice and that only persons who are legitimate business owners can actually participate.
The above pie chart shows the business activities that the respondents of this survey are active in. It is clearly evident from this chart that the respondents where from a cross section of the business community and not simply retailers. This particular question allowed respondents to select more than one selection as we are aware that many businesses are not simply involved in one activity within their enterprise.
The above line chart shows that the businesses interviewed are involved in am myriad of sectors. Sectors for the GRTU is well known are represented as well as other sectors that are such as the sectors which are traditionally considered as service sectors.
Respondents were also provided with an opportunity to air their concerns and the most prevalent concerns where the following :
- There is an acute shortage of employable people. Considered on a country wide level this is undoubtedly a good thing but on a micro business level this is causing acute problems. Business people are claiming that they are spending a lot of their time finding employees rather than focusing on being productive in their respective businesses.
- Traffic congestion is causing serious concerns. Persons employed to handle on-site calls have become much less productive and companies are finding it very hard to keep up with their client support commitments because of inefficiencies that are clearly attributed to logistic challenges caused by traffic congestion.
- The new SISA on cosmetics and related products was mentioned repeatedly. GRTU members and businessman in general simply cannot understand how the government would choose to inconvenience the business community with these unnecessary burdens to collect a paltry few millions. GRTU has always claimed that it sees this as going back in time to a time when Excise and Customs played an important part in tax collection. GRTU applauded the Government on the removal of ECO taxes, only to be disappointed with the new SISA.
- Respondents also mentioned repeatedly the unfair competition which is rampant through the Internet as well as through other channels such as undeclared imports from Sicily. Goods purchased online are exempt from taxes such as VAT, Duty and packaging and WEEE fees. This causes an aberration in the market and GRTU has been insisting that these abuses need to be curbed.
- Respondents also mentioned the new "Shop opening hours" regulations and showed surprise that the €700 fee to open on Sundays was still in force. A survey conducted by GRTU about this matter two years ago clearly showed that shop owners are widely in favour of a free for all system. While GRTU understants that the new ammedments were a first step, the €700 fee is excessive and should be removed.