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Survey: Illinois small businesses still face challenges during holiday shopping season

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(The Center Square) – Midway through the 2023 holiday shopping season, a high percentage of Illinois small businesses continue to struggle.

The small business network Allignable’s latest survey shows 47% of small businesses in Illinois couldn’t pay their rent in full or on time in November, a slight improvement from October, but still the 4th highest in the country. Only New York (51%), Ohio (50%) and Arizona (50%) were higher.

“With a retail sector that really should be doing better on Main Street at this time of year, which does concern us a bit, because there still is 41 percent unable to pay the rent across the country,” said head researcher Chuck Casto.

The situation is worse for minority-owned small businesses with 61% unable to make rent in November, a 12% increase from October.

In addition to the negative effects of cumulative inflation and a new round of rent spikes, Casto said interest rates continue to be a challenge for small businesses.

“At least 49 percent of all the people that we polled say they need to lower these by at least three points before they can start to recover,” said Casto.

Illinois led the country in the percentage of small businesses that were pessimistic about revenues to finish out the year.

The top sectors facing rent difficulties are car dealers, beauty salons, realtors and retailers.

The survey showed that only 31% of pre-COVID businesses have fully recovered financially from the pandemic era, which is down six percentage points from October when 37% said they had fully recovered.

The findings are based on responses from 3,767 randomly selected small business owners surveyed from Nov. 2 to Nov. 29, as well as input from over 48,000 other respondents over the past year.

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