Business in 2006: growth maintained only in retail trade
In 2006, against a backdrop of moderate economic growth, business sectors reported mixed results. In wholesale trade, activity slowed after two years of relatively sustained growth. This underperformance derived in part from the marked drop in commercial sales of raw agricultural products. It also stemmed from the slow-down in other sectors, even the most dynamic, such as professional equipment and non-food consumer goods sectors. In retail trade and craft industries, growth remained the same in 2006 as it was in 2005, at a slightly lower rate than the period 2002 to 2004. It was again specialist non-food businesses and chemists that made most progress. The car and car repair trade stayed the same in 2006. Employment increased very little across the whole of business in 2006. The increase was almost exclusively down to retail trade. Similarly, the increase in the number of commercial enterprises in 2006 was due entirely to retail trade.