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A Royal Boost: UK businesses expect £180m in revenue across Coronation weekend

  • Nearly three-fifths (58 per cent) of UK small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) expect revenues to increase this quarter, when compared to Q1 2023
  • The King’s Coronation weekend is set to provide a boost in revenues as pubs, bars and restaurants take advantage of the festivities and extended licensing hours – bringing in a potential £180 million to the British economy
  • Small business optimism is at its highest level in a year, with 43 per cent of SME leaders feeling positive about their future
  • The quarterly Barclays SME Barometer combines billions of merchant transactions, processed by Barclaycard Payments, with research data to provide an in-depth look at the UK SME economy

Nearly, three-fifths of small business leaders (58 per cent) are expecting revenues to increase this quarter when compared to the first three months of 2023 – with an average revenue increase of 10 per cent this quarter year-on-year, thanks to a boost from the King’s Coronation weekend, according to the latest quarterly Barclays SME Barometer1.

As business owners look forward to the celebrations, SMEs across the hospitality and leisure sector expect the long weekend to bring in an additional £180 million2 of revenue.

This follows a successful first quarter of the year (January 2023 – March 2023) for UK SMEs with more than half (56 per cent) reporting a rise in revenue from Q4 2022 and 60 per cent reporting a year-on-year rise in revenue from Q1 2022. Similarly, small business optimism is at the highest level in a year, with 43 per cent of SME leaders feeling positive about their future.

These figures are supported by data from Barclaycard Payments, which processes 1 in 3 debit and credit card payments in the UK, which shows a rise of 1.4% per cent in the value of payments to SMEs in Q1 compared to the same period last year3.

The Coronation boost

As final preparations get underway ahead of the festivities, two in five (40 per cent) of hospitality businesses expect the Coronation weekend to provide a welcome boost to sales. This in part, is helped by a third (31 per cent) of businesses who want to take advantage of the additional licensing hours across the Friday, Saturday, Sunday of the Coronation weekend from 11pm -1am.

Furthermore, a quarter (25 per cent) of SMEs in the hospitality sector expect to see an increase in support for their business from the local community.

Investing for growth

Despite the increased optimism, wider concerns remain, as almost three quarters of SMEs (73 per cent) say they are worried about the impact that the cost of energy will have on their business. Furthermore, just over two-fifths (41 per cent) say they will need to increase their prices to cover the costs, which will impact their competitiveness.

Yet, many SMEs plan to plough investment back into their businesses, following the expected rise in revenues. Almost four in ten (39 per cent) businesses plan to increase their number of employees over the next quarter, resulting in an average of eight new recruits per business. This is the largest expected increase in new hires for SMEs since Q1 2022.

Colin O’Flaherty, Head of SME at Barclaycard, said: “It’s great to see that businesses plan to make the most of the Coronation weekend and are hoping to see increases in revenue – as consumers take advantage of the long weekend and enjoy eating and drinking out.

“It’s unsurprising that in the immediate term, there are still wider concerns for businesses, whether that’s energy prices or underlying cost of living issues. SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy and with a series of bank holidays coming up in May – it’s more important than ever to make sure we support local businesses at every opportunity.”

To find out more about Barclays’ support for businesses visit:


1 Barclays commissions YouGov to conduct its quarterly SME Barometer research. This quarter’s study was conducted among 576 small and medium-sized business leaders, with a nationally representative regional and industry sample, between 6th April 2023 – 18th April 2023.

2 According to YouGov research, hospitality and leisure SMEs expect an increase of £1,299.79 in revenue each on average across the Coronation Weekend (6th-8th May). Based on the ONS’ business population estimates, this is equivalent to 138,400 SMEs in ‘food and beverage service activities’ (which includes pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes). This gives an overall figure of £180m across the hospitality and leisure sectors.

3 Barclaycard Payments transaction data processed between 1 January and 31 March 2023 by SMEs in the UK compared to the same period in 2022.

NOTE: Micro businesses are defined as any business with a turnover of under £2m. Small businesses are those between £2m – £10m. Medium-sized businesses are £10m – £25m.

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