Data on small businesses from referral network Alignable suggests most retailers (69 percent) fear a disappointing fourth quarter, and one in three worry about having to shut their doors by the end of the year. Retail represents one of the top markets for promotional products with distributor sales to that sector at almost $874 million in 2019.

Alignable’s State Of Small Business Report draws on input from 510,000 small-business owners polled since March, including more than 5,500 in the past week. It found layoffs are expected over the next month, bringing payroll down from 82 percent to 70 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels. Alignable says that this is the first time since May its network of small-business owners anticipate a decrease in hiring.

The survey also found that 46 percent of small-business owners report earning less than 50 percent of the revenues they had prior to COVID, and 66 percent of retailers who usually plan for temporary holiday hiring now aren’t sure whether they’ll need the extra staff. Alignable attributes this to 69 percent of shop owners saying they believe fourth quarter 2020 will yield fewer sales than the same quarter in 2019—33 percent say they expect sales to be less than half of fourth quarter 2019’s level.

For more details from Alignable’s report, click here.