Who moved your cheese?

24th August 2020 by Phil Mundy

Rather like the book “Who moved my cheese” by Dr Johnson, some businesses have managed to move with the cheese during the COVID crisis while others can’t or haven’t. I was surprised the first time I saw the effect COVID has had on turnover.

Take a look at the game of two halves described by company turnover over time. It’s a tough game, but it is good to see the worst band continuing to narrow and a general upward trend in performance.

The challenge is on for those in the lower half to recover their ground, and for the winners to hold onto their gains. How do you compare?

About the chart

The ONS has sent a survey to 25,000 businesses every two weeks during the COVID crisis. The question asking them to classify their turnover against that generally expected for the time of year shows some interesting results:

  • Turnover normal
  • Turnover above normal
  • Turnover <20% Lower than normal
  • Turnover between 20% & 50% lower than normal
  • Turnover >50% lower than normal

*** Choose a sector that interests you, and the chart will automatically update. Hover over, or click on the chart bars to view the values.

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Reference point

To get an idea of where we started, the first survey was conducted between 22nd March and 5th April. Lockdown was formally announced by Boris Johnson on the 23rd March. Unfortunately, the survey categories were different so the results cannot be included on the chart but here is a summary:

Lower than normalNormal Higher than normal
% of all companies responding to survey

At this time. Accommodation, and Arts, sectors immediately showed lower turnover for ~90% of the respondents. 15% of Retail and wholesale respondents reported a higher turnover.

The first set of charts I produced can be found in the the articles archive.

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