Well, it’s not as if we needed any confirmation because I think we all knew this anyway, but @FenNews announced earlier today that the latest FENSA figures show a pretty poor first quarter of 2013.

In their report, which can be found here: http://www.fenestration-news.com/news/newsItem.aspx?id=11480 FENSA explains that residential window and door installations in the first quarter of this year were down 5.4% compared to the same period to last year. In a monthly break down, January was down 10.6%, February down 1.5% and March down 3.9%. You don’t need me to tell you that this is significant regression.

The end of 2012 saw somewhat of a recovery within the market, and I think the industry had thought it had turned the corner. However, given yet more negative economic news and a significantly long and cold winter, I think it is fair to say that any progress made last year has been well cancelled out.

Looking at the monthly break downs, it does tell a weather related story. January and March were particularly harsh months during this winter just gone. February was slightly benign hence only a 1.5% drop and the market naturally picking up slightly after the usual Christmas quiet period. But I think most of the industry was expecting/hoping March would be like March of 2012 and bring an early and warm start to summer. We couldn’t have been more wrong:

Not an early start to spring...

Not an early start to spring…

The prolonged winter has caused real damage to our industry for the first quarter. Though I think this was expected by most. It does call in to questions a lot of the uber-positive tweets of massive lead levels and sales. But that debate is for another day.

What would be good, to help clarify these figures, would be to know how many members FENSA have. Just to help shed light on the overall accuracy of these figures. By rough estimates by others, the number of members seems to lie between 9000-10000.

One thing I think we can look forward to however is a spring and summer bounce-back. We have seen this before when winters have been particularly bad. When the cold has forced people to put home improvement works back, the months where the weather improves sees a bit of an extra boost as more people venture out to do the work they wanted to do a couple of months ago. So not all bad. Just frustrating!

April for us personally has seen a marked improvement. The first quarter, has been generally quite tough. Tough in all respects; leads harder to close, footfall reduced, fitting schedules disrupted etc. Now we have had a few nice days though it does seem to have encourage people out of their homes and get into the housing season in full swing! Lets hope for a long, dry, warm and sunny summer!