By Daniel Hunter

An extensive study published today (Thursday) by Experian, the global information services company, has revealed a significant improvement in the number of businesses reporting strong year-on-year growth.

Experian's BusinessIQ analysis shows that pre-2008, approximately one third of businesses in the UK achieved sales growth in excess of 10 per cent, but this figure fell to a quarter during 2008-2010. The latest analysis has found that by the end of 2011, 32 per cent of businesses were back to achieving strong sales growth rates.

The study, which analysed the most recent set of available accounts of 150,000 UK businesses that reported turnover between 2008 and 2011, reveals the towns and cities that saw the highest proportion of businesses reporting strong growth in sales in each of the two-year periods 2008-2010 and 2009-2011. The study also reveals which geographical areas have seen the greatest increase in these businesses.

Hull topped the table as the city where businesses experienced the highest level of improved sales growth in the country. Between 2009 and 2011, over a third of businesses in Hull (36 per cent) achieved revenue growth of over 10 per cent per year compared to the 2008-2010 period when only 21 per cent of businesses in the city were achieving this level of growth.

Nine out of the 10 towns and cities that saw the biggest increases in the number of businesses reporting strong sales growth were either in the Midlands or the North. The only exception was Newport in Wales.

“Many of the towns and cities highlighted as showing the biggest improvements in sales growth were widely believed to be struggling during the period analysed," Max Firth, UK Managing Director for Experian’s Business Information Services division, said.

“Places like Stoke-on-Trent, Hull, Wolverhampton and Birmingham are incubating some strong businesses that have demonstrated the ability to grow significantly, even in the tough economic climate that existed between 2010 and 2011. If businesses such as these can be nurtured to sustain their growth, it should lead to improved prosperity for those areas. The businesses themselves need to harness opportunities through careful monitoring of the business climate, so that they can actively seek growth opportunities and minimise risk.”

Notably, Wolverhampton and Stockport experienced the greatest improvement from a relatively poor starting position (both had fewer than 20 per cent of firms achieving strong sales growth in the 2008-2010 period). Others, such as Newport and, in particular, Stoke-on-Trent, stand out as performing consistently well — heading the table for the towns and cities that have seen the most consistent growth, as well as appearing in the top 10 improving list.

Experian's BusinessIQ analysis has also revealed the towns and cities that have managed to retain the highest percentage of businesses achieving strong sales growth throughout the period.

In order to make a fair comparison with other towns and cities London was split into eight separate geographical areas. Whilst Stoke-on-Trent and Newport also made it on to the most improved list based on year-on-year figures for 2010-2011, London and Cambridge held their position among the UK’s top ten.

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness