NEW YEAR MESSAGES
The attitude of most
colleagues within the
industry that I speak
to about Brexit is that
people are just getting on with things. This
is our own assessment. We don’t expect Brexit to have a massive
impact either way.
Integral blinds sell at a higher price point – and at higher
margin – end users tend to have more money behind them and
are less influenced by cost.
If the economy does slowdown a little because of Brexit,
it’s not going to dissuade homeowners who would in ‘normal’
circumstances purchase integrated blinds, from doing so now, in
slightly more ‘unusual’ ones.
This does, however, makes the case for introducing added-value
products to your offer. They deliver minimalist sightlines, are
more hygienic, and offer exceptional reliability. As such, at point
of retail they allow you to go in with a different pitch – most
importantly one, which delivers genuine product differentiation.
USPs, those provided by our own but also other products,
are going to be key for anyone in retail who wants to deliver
sustainable growth and margin in 2019.
This compares to the market as a whole, which continues to
be driven by cost, with the squeeze on prices on mainstream
products, increasingly unsustainable.
In contrast we see other growth opportunities and emerging
markets for specialist products in the coming year.
This includes growing sales of rooflights, which are being
installed in a wide range of commercial and residential
This analysis has driven our development of the HiTech TRL90
aluminium rooflight, which we supply with a motorised blind
– as standard. It delivers a highly practical solution, providing
privacy and controlling the flow of daylight into the property.
We need as an industry to start to claw back margin,
particularly at point of retail, by upselling the added value and
benefit that our product offer delivers.
Giving the industry the tools to do this will continue to drive
our product development strategy in the coming year regardless of
where Brexit takes us.
We’ve put more work into
forecasting for 2019
than ever and if those
forecasts are on track – and we
have no reason to think that they won’t be – it
should be a really good year.
Those forecasts are as positive as they are, not necessarily
because we’re predicting general growth in the market, but
because we expect continuing growth in demand for our product
The last six months of 2018 have been exceptional. The
demand we’ve seen from R9 installers for our Timberweld R9
unglazed sash, massively exceeding our expectations.
This gives us an almost unique capability in the UK to butt
weld window sashes inside and out, replicating the aesthetic
delivered in a 90° mechanical joint.
Increasing sash corner strength, in most configurations this
eliminates the requirement to glass bond IGUs, which have
historically been used in R9 fabrication to give the system
Fully tested, the benefits to the installer are immediately
obvious. You can source glass from your usual supplier and fit it
in exactly the same way as you would a standard PVC-U window.
“if those forecasts are on track – it
should be a really good year”
Taking out weight handling is simpler, reducing time and the
number of teams needed to install it – savings that can top £500
per full house of windows.
There are also positives for the homeowner, making failed
IGU replacement simpler and lower cost, without the need to
replace the sash and then try and match in the finish.
These benefits have really struck a chord with installers, while
R9 continues to set the standard for flush casements, retaining
massive end-user appeal.
It’s worth noting that if you’re supplying R9, you’re supplying
the higher end of the market, one which is historically insulated
from economic change.
With Brexit still an unknown quantity, it’s a sector of the
market that can be expected to stand-up to any wider economic
uncertainty and fluctuation.
It’s also a high margin one and in taking out the cost
associated with R9 installation, buying in R9 unglazed supports
installers in maximising margins – in the truest sense, getting
more for doing less. This has also given us a springboard for our
own growth with capital investments planned for later this year,
which will support us in further enhancing our product offer to
www.ggpmag.com January 2019