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Region loses its 'most prosperous' label.

Businesses in the West Midlands are languishing behind their counterparts across the country when it comes to profitability, a new survey has revealed.

According to the study, firms in the county enjoy a profit margin of just 4.99 per cent.

But it flies in the face of a different survey carried out last year which named the West Midlands as the most prosperous region in the country.

Last night Ms Fay Goodman, of the Birmingham branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the wildly different results from the two surveys meant that many could not be relied on to give the full picture.

The latest report, by Experian, a global information solutions company based in Nottingham, looked at 285 towns and cities across the country and analysed the total level of profits against the total sales of nearly 200,000 companies.

Top was Tyne and Wear which had 11.12 per cent profit margins while scraping in the top ten was Gloucestershire whose businesses enjoyed a 6.68 per cent profit margin.

The West Midlands was in 26th position, while Worcestershire was right behind it at 27th with profit margins of 4.92 per cent.

Staffordshire was 32nd (4.11pc), Shropshire 40th (3.21pc) and Herefordshire 41st (3.16pc).

Warwickshire was placed 52nd out of the 63 counties surveyed.

By comparison another survey, carried out by Dun and Bradstreet, last year said Warwickshire was the most profitable county with Leamington heading the table for the highest proportion of profit-making businesses in the country.

But in the latest survey Leamington was placed 138th out of 285 towns and cities for is profit margins.

Evesham was the Midland town whose businesses enjoyed the greatest profit margins - 13.55 per cent, placing it ninth.

Solihull was close to the bottom at 278th, Birmingham was 27th (9.12 per cent), behind Coventry, Uttoxeter and Halesowen.

Sutton Coldfield was placed 70th, Stratford-upon-Avon 96th and Dudley 110th.

Other Midland towns, including Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Warwick and Rugby, all languished in the bottom half of the table.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 1, 1998
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