An improvement in the trading climate but a negative response to the artists’ resale right were among the findings of the latest British Antique Dealers’ Association members poll.

The 18th annual survey was completed by 59 per cent of the 350 BADA members including well-known names such as Eskenazi, Richard Green, Mallett and SJ Phillips.

One third of Britain’s top art and antiques dealers reported an increase in sales turnover in 2006 (up from 28% the previous year) with just 18% recording a fall in sales. Turnover fortunes vary according to location and speciality with London and Oriental dealers showing most improvement.

The aggregate turnover of members who responded to the survey amounted to £408m. That can be extrapolated to £693m for the total membership.

For BADA members, regardless of location, there remains a considerable reliance on exports. This is most pronounced in the South where 60% of the value of all sales were exported. This year the number of sales made to the United States fell seven percentage points to 30 per cent.

As in this year’s LAPADA survey, published in March, BADA members were asked special questions relating to the introduction of the artists’ resale right. So far 22% of BADA art dealers have been affected by the levy although many more would be drawn into the net should the resale right be extended to include the work of artists who have died in the preceding 70 years.

Of those who were currently affected, 71% said it had impacted negatively upon their business and the market as a whole. Extra costs (60%) and the movement of art to non-droit de suite countries such as the United States (33%) were reasons for its unpopularity.

Almost a quarter of BADA business is now conducted at fairs (shops and galleries account for 53% of total sales, a fall of 6% on 2006) and of those events the BADA Fair in March topped the members league of “most successful fair”. Of the 77 dealers who attended fairs, 19 considered the Chelsea event their best followed by the Summer Olympia (15) and Grosvenor House (12).

Despite the impact of the internet on many aspects of commercial life, BADA members reported that only 5% of sales were made online, although that was up a percentage point on the previous year.