The average return on capital among leading British companies across the industrial economy fell from 7.57% in the 12 months to June 2002 to 6.98% in the 12 months to September 2002.
Motor traders' profitability rose from 7.73 per cent to 7.94 per cent. Only six other sector saw profits growth: oils (13.05 per cent to 17.61 per cent); printing, paper & packaging (7.61 per cent to 7.67 per cent); textiles & cothing (3.98 per cent to 4.39 per cent); food manufacturing (10.81 per cent to 10.96 per cent); non-food retailing (11.18 per cent to 11.29 per cent); and support services (14.93 per cent to 17.21 per cent)).
Says report author Peter Brooker: "This is the 14th quarter in a row that UK corporate profitability has fallen – more than in either of the last two recessions.
“Profitability peaked in early 1999 at 14.18 per cent, since when it has more than halved. If anything, the decline is gaining momentum; the fall over the last four quarters is easily the steepest annual decline during the four years that profitability has been in decline - and the rate of decline has accelerated in each of those four years.”