No Crystal Ball

It’s that time of year again when the trade magazines start to publish their reviews of the year just gone and their previews of the year ahead.

I’ve just sent my thoughts over to Glass News, and I actually found it quite hard to make any predictions when we still don’t know the outcome of the General Election or what Brexit will eventually look like.

Overall though, I do think Mila is very well placed for whatever 2020 might bring. We performed remarkably well this year given that the market was down overall, particularly in PVC-U. Our sales are up on 2018 and, because we kept a really tight focus on controlling costs, we’ve been able to maintain the investment in new products which is so important in the hardware sector.

As a result, we’ve got some really significant announcements to make in the New Year on new security products, and we’ll be broadening our smart tech offering following on from the fantastic response we had to the AVIA smart lock at FIT. We’ll also be transforming our offering in stainless steel in 2020 so I’m very positive about things from a Mila perspective.

What we can’t control of course is the political landscape, and we’re all seeing the impact that the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit is having on consumer confidence. Big name casualties on the High Street and in this industry have shown how vulnerable highly geared businesses in particular are to a sustained slowdown in spending.

Whatever side of the debate you’re on, I think we all want to be able to move on now from the impasse we find ourselves in. I do want to strike a note of caution though about the impact that any kind of hard Brexit could have in 2020 on the hardware sector. Any fall in the value of the pound would mean more expensive imports and a likely rise in commodity prices would inevitably mean surcharges which would have to be passed on to customers down the line.

Even a Brexit boom which some are predicting would carry inherent risks for underfunded businesses who could simply find themselves overwhelmed by the influx of work. There are challenging times ahead then, but I think there is always room for optimism in an industry which as resilient as this one.

I’ll certainly be very interested to read the December issue of Glass News and see what others in the industry are saying.

Richard

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