Businessmen in better mood

The mood among businessmen in Austria¬ís retail trade sector has improved, according to consulting firm KMU Forschung Austria.Georg Toifl, the head of its retail trade division, said today (Fri): “We are experiencing a trend reversal.”He said business would continue to pick up in the second quarter of 2010 but warned against “euphoria” since investment was still low.With annual turnover of 67 billion Euros and 600,000 employees, the sector is the biggest employer in Austria.Toifl added that 70 per cent of retail-trade businesses would keep the number of their employees stable, 25 per cent would hire more, and five per cent might engage in lay-offs in the second quarter.He said price competition was the biggest problem facing 69 per cent of businessmen in the sector but added that 30 per cent of firms in the sector had increased turnover by an average of 12 per cent year on year in 2009 and 36 per cent had kept turnover stable.