UK retailers are ‘optimistic’ about the year ahead, according to a survey by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The survey showed that 76% of respondents reported that they expected their sales to improve in 2015 compared with 2014 and 67% of retailers said that their investment levels were set to increase and 78% said they were likely to be employing more staff next year. 

Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General, said: “It’s great to see British retailers optimistic about the coming twelve months. After a number of years battling against strong economic headwinds and shaky consumer confidence, it seems as though retailers are set for some cheer in 2015. 

‘’However, given the tentative nature of the recovery in consumer confidence it’s natural that retailers are cautious about the longevity of the upswing we’ve seen recently. It’s also no surprise that the fundamental reform of business rates has come out as top priority for government action. It is an outdated and punitive tax.”

 When asked to list their top concerns for the year ahead, 68% respondents to the BRC survey said that weak consumer demand worried them most, followed by the continuing pressure of business rates (53%) and weakness in the economy (47%).

When asked what changes the government could bring forward to make the UK a better place to do business, a sizable majority of the retailers surveyed (74%) opted for fundamental reform of business rates – proving once again this remains a key concern for the UK’s largest private sector employer.

Dickinson added: ‘’We’re delighted that the government has decided to back British retailing by committing to review the business rates system and we look forward to working with government during the course of the review.”