BPIF warning on back of survey showing stabilisation
The ability to raise prices, hold labour costs down and keep raw materials costs in check will be key to continued business improvement within the print sector according to BPIF corporate affairs director Andrew Brown. The warning comes on the back of the association's latest Printing Outlook survey which showed that 47% of respondents (from across the print spectrum) reported stable trading conditions in the winter period (December to February) but, that 37% reported a weakening in the state of trade. However, the results were more positive than those forecasted three months ago.
More firms are looking to invest in new machinery - 44% of printers look to spend more over the next 12 months versus 16% that expect to invest less. Employment prospects also appear brighter this quarter. 16% of firms took on more staff in the period, whilst 70% expect staffing levels to stay at current levels in the next quarter.
BPIF corporate affairs director Andrew Brown said: "Although activity slowed during the winter months after the autumn seasonal uplift, it is encouraging that trade stabilised or improved for most respondents, with the majority also expecting stable conditions in the three months ahead. However we are concerned that domestic demand remains extremely depressed, and that severely weakened margins could be further undermined unless printers are able to raise selling prices and hold the cost of labour and raw materials in check." ? ??