North Island businesses are less confident than their southern counterparts about seeing a rise in turnover in the year ahead, according to new research.
Grant Thornton's IBR survey, which draws its data from interviews with 3200 businesses across a range of sectors late last year, says 73.2 per cent of South Island firms are expecting increased revenue over the next year, compared with 65.4 per cent of those in the North Island.
Grant Thornton New Zealand partner Simon Carey said the Christchurch rebuild was a major factor behind the rising confidence among southern firms.
"I think it's fair to say many businesses have been watching from the sidelines as they wait for the city's blueprint to be finalised and the way cleared for rebuild activity. We're now almost at that stage and businesses are optimistic about what lies ahead. We have already seen some businesses opening an office in Christchurch or expanding their operations, poised for the economic spin-offs which are set to accrue."
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But there is some good news for businesses north of Cook Strait - 67.3 per cent of North Island firms expect a rise in profitability in the coming year, compared with 64.9 per cent in the South Island, according to the survey. It said 26.8 per cent of South Island firms and 24 per cent of North Island companies expect profits to remain steady.
Carey said almost half of the southern businesses and 34.6 per cent of North Island companies surveyed planned to take on new employees.