Scots companies are confident of higher sales and staff expansion in the year ahead according to a new business survey this week.

Almost three in four (73.9 per cent) of Scottish private sector firms expect to grow turnover over the next twelve months, a year-on-year increase of ten percentage points (from 64 per cent in the first quarter of last year).

According to the latest Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), the improved market outlook will lead to a recruitment drive, with the accountancy firm reporting a similarly significant rise in Scottish companies planning to employ more staff.

The number planning to do so rose from 44 per cent this time last year to 54.3 per cent now.

Overall confidence in the Scottish market remains high, with just 2.2 per cent of businesses surveyed now expressing pessimism at the future, compared to 10 per cent a year ago.

The trading conditions are partially explained by improving export performance, with the IBR reporting a slight quarterly increase in the number of Scottish businesses expecting to increase exports, from 20.4 per cent to 21.7 per cent.

The number expecting to have to cut selling prices has also reduced in the last three months to just 4.3 per cent of businesses.

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