Thoughts of Growth for Spring
It's Spring. The first quarter Winter doldrums are over. Normally it would be time to think about growth.
But this year is different. Because we are at war, rather than plan for growth over the coming months, our attention is focused elsewhere. We watch the news for updates. We worry about our troops. We ponder the implications of disagreements with former allies. We fret over the possibility of terrorist acts. The economy, which has been poised for growth for months, remains stagnant.
As shown in last month's State of the Industry Report, distributors remain optimistic about future prospects. If they are held in check for one product line, they can expand into other product areas.
Because the overall printed products industry is so large, distributors can grow by building market share, rather than waiting for the economy to expand. When the inevitable economic expansion finally arrives, distributors that have built market share should see dramatic sales increases.
Suppliers, on the other hand, have a different problem. If the market for the products they offer are held back by the economy, what can they do, other than cut prices? Some are merging their businesses. Some are adding capabilities. Some are branching out into completely different areas, such as The DFS Group's move into apparel.
Whatever distributors and suppliers are doing to maintain business while awaiting the war's end, we hope they are successful. Once the war is over and our troops are safe, we anticipate a stimulated U.S. economy, amends with our allies, a greater opportunity for peace in the Middle East and the opening of world markets.