My general prediction is that 2011 may be a little tougher than last year. VAT has risen, government cuts and their effects are going to be felt soon and wages for most aren’t rising enough to keep up with the rising cost of living. So continuing the recovery from recession will be made harder.
More specifically, I see further polycarbonate and glass price increases as well as rises in the cost of PVC. One factor which is really going to put a strain on all businesses this year is the spiralling cost of fuel. Petrol and diesel are at all time highs, and the last time I looked on the BBC website, it now takes about £75,000 a year to fill ONE lorry. Now imagine the bills for haulage companies. Now imagine the knock-on effects of that massive yearly fuel bill. That has to impact on all products, never mind just the ones involved in double glazing.
However, if you take a look at the wider economy, there are signs that normality is starting to return. The FTSE managed to climb above 6000 points which is both financially and psychologically important for investors. The pound vs dollar has stabilised, though it could do with being a little higher. But it’s going to take more than this to make sure the public keep spending.
The high street suffered generally a very poor Christmas period, bar the odd company like John Lewis. Sales were down over the period by over 10% compared to 2009. The Christmas period provides a springboard into the New Year when people generally tighten their belts. This didn’t happen and for stores like HMV who were hit hard, they are having to close stores (60 in total) to try to recoup losses.
For us as a business, we fully expect to increases sales again this year. Leads at the start of the year have been flowing steadily through, with sales copying that trend. So, lets build on what was a great 2010 for many, ignore, like we always try to do, the negative press, and push on to success.