Snow Start But Summer Scorcher On Way

Heavy snowfall in January followed the wettest year on record in 2012.

Already predicted to be a challenging year for many companies due to the sustained economic depression, UK water leisure companies faced the additional challenge of arctic conditions as they welcomed in 2013. After what weather experts have confirmed as one of the wettest years on record in 2012, January was beset with prolonged snow and freezing conditions that played havoc throughout January. Nearly all UK water leisure businesses were impacted in some way. Some had engineers cut off by heavy snow and had to cover accommodation costs. Others simply could not reach their own showrooms let alone open them while outdoor new build and refurbishment projects were put on ice – literally. The prolonged wintry spell came just at a time when businesses were reporting ‘cautious optimism’ at the start of the new year, traditionally a slow time of the year for the water leisure trade.

Latest research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows small firms are displaying a greater level of confidence compared to the same time last year. Fewer small firms applied for finance in the last quarter, but of those that did, a higher proportion were accepted – 49.3 per cent up from 42.8 per cent in Q3. This is a move in the right direction, but less than one in 10 respondents still consider credit to be easily available. The FSB wants to see the new business bank improve competition in the sector and promote alternative sources of finance – especially for more businesses to be able to bring forward investment decisions. Plus points for 2012 season were the recession-proof luxury pool market, hotels and health clubs upgrading water facilities and investment in 50m pools as part of the Olympic effect. The pool and spa market is reliant as much on the weather as much as the economy. Whilst it’s difficult enough to predict the weather outside of seven days, six to seven months ahead can be little more than guess work. However, with increasing reliability, weather experts have looked at recent long range weather patterns to predict forthcoming seasonal performance. The latest models suggest June will be a rather wet month with heavy showers and rather mild temperatures, continuing throughout the month. July and August looks set to be a scorcher with temperatures reaching the high twenties quite widely, with highs of 30-32c across the South East of the UK. You heard it here first!

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