While RCG is suffering from the winter blues, I’ll try and be a bit more cheery!

While the industry goes into its hibernation period, now is the time to think about the year we have been through, and how well we seem to have coped as an industry.

The beginning of the year brought the most financially unstable period of economic crisis the country has seen in over 70 years, and certainly of my lifetime. Yet faced with this, whilst feeling the pressure and dealing with some seriously big concerns, we remained resilient as an industry, determined not to let the economic turmoil ruin what has been such a vibrant industry for the last 40+ years.

The spring delivered the first few fledgling signs of calm, not quite recovery, but signs that the worst might just be now behind us. And with that new found calm, customer confidence did the same. Lead levels started to rise, not as in previous years, but a rise none the less. Revenue levels started to rise and the double glazing industry started to splutter into life again. One reality through the late spring and early summer that became apparent was how big a hit our industry had taken via the huge rise in company bankruptcies. The numbers were the highest we had seen. Yet, they weren’t as bad as some predicted. At the beginning of the year, many (including me) foresaw a blood bath, with some proclaiming that up to 4000 companies could go. In reality it wasn’t that bad. I think we can owe that to the ‘never give up’ attitude a lot of us in this country have.

The summer and early autumn was when the industry really did start to find its legs. From my own personal experience we found that lead levels and sales volume started to gain serious momentum, and I think the same can be said for a good percentage of the rest of the industry. Again, I’m not saying that levels were as good as previous years, but bearing in mind the massive shock to the economic system, the vital signs were healthy.

The previous two months I think have been busier than usual for our industry. This could be caused by consumers saving their income throughout the year, and now deciding to carry out home improvements before the onset of Christmas, also knowing that the economic situation is much more stable now than at the same time last year.

I think we have a lot to be positive about. We’ve battled through the worst recession since the Great Depression, and come out stronger and wiser in my opinion. Most of the companies that were lost to the recession were hopefully a lot of the deadwood in out sector, meaning the rest of the profitable business out there can be taken advantage of by the more solid companies. And I think 2010 whilst being a year of change due to the Part L and F updates, the industry will continue to recover well. We should be proud of ourselves!