MORE than three in five small and medium-sized businesses in Scotland are predicting a rise in sales over the next three months, and nearly two thirds have been investing recently, a survey has shown.

Business funder Bibby Financial Services, publishing the survey yesterday, declared that optimism among Scottish small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was on the up.

The survey also found 52 per cent of SMEs in Scotland had achieved a rise in sales in the last three months. And 18 per cent reported a "significant" increase in sales.

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Meanwhile, 70 per cent of the SME owners and managers surveyed anticipated their businesses would grow over the next three years.

The survey found 61 per cent of SMEs in Scotland anticipating a rise in sales over the next three months. And 64 per cent reported they had invested in their businesses over the past three months, in areas including technology and equipment, recruitment, staff training, and new product development.

Alan Anderson, head of sales for Bibby Financial Services in Scotland, said: "Our research findings are overwhelmingly positive for the economy and highlight a real step-change in the expectations of SMEs in the country.

"Scottish businesses we are working with tell us that 2014 is shaping up to be a year of real optimism. Firms are once again planning for the mid and long-term, rather than just preparing for the months ahead."

He added: "This is a far cry from how things were just a few years ago."