Firstly I should start by wishing you all a happy New Year. And, if Verdict's latest report
is anything to go by, it should be a happier year for our sector, with the DIY and garden market forecast to be the strongest retail category for projected growth.
This is, of course, against weak comparisons, bearing in mind how tough the past few years have been for so many, but growth is growth, and it is still a positive note to start 2013 on.
Less encouraging for independents
is probably the fact that Verdict has also revealed a slight uplift in the number of people planning to do their DIY shopping with the multiples this year. With the news that well-known DIY and furniture independent Godfrey DIY is downsizing operations
and going into 2013 leaner, fitter and ready to continue the fight for market share, it seems the battle is not quite over and the year ahead is unlikely to be a smooth ride.
But then, they said that Christmas was going to be tough for many
on the high street, and yet a poll on diyweek.net
this week, where retailers could rate sales over the festive period, saw nearly 40% of respondents tick the ‘best-ever Christmas’ box.
Yes, it is still tough out there and Godfrey had to make the tough decision to scale back operations and let staff go, but even the multiples are having to take a similar course of action, making redundancies, exiting stores and even looking at smaller retail footprints.
With the housing market remaining flat, there are bound to still be tough decisions that have to made but Christmas seems to have given many retailers a bit of a boost and, for the first time in a while, reports predict positive growth for our sector this year and sales to be had.
So, whatever the year throws at you, here's hoping you can rise to the challenge and come out stronger. Oh and fingers crossed for a bit of good weather!