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Blog Post By Brendan Perring

Carry On Europe?

Manufacturing has dropped across Europe and unemployment has risen to 11 percent. Bankers are beginning to bury the gold in the back garden, while Greek politicians start to transfer their money to those wonderfully untraceable off-shore accounts. The Italians and Spaniards are remaining firmly in the camp of denial. The French are very worried they have actually elected a leader who is going to tell them they can’t afford that extra croissant. The smaller Euro nations are hiding behind the sofa and looking through the cushions for loose change. And on British shores our illustrious coalition is scrambling madly to try and shore up the defences in case it all goes bang, all while planning our biggest national celebration for 64 years.

A script from a Carry On film? Well sadly no, and while the UK has done better of late, our manufacturing export market is now being threatened.

In my last blog I posed two questions in response to falling sales figures from some of our major suppliers; is consumer spending impacting sign-maker’s and their supply needs? Or are they just turning to cheaper foreign markets? With the European crisis now coming to a head, an answer has emerged connecting both. Recently-published figures by the EU show consumer spending is definitely falling across Europe. This is because people want to hold onto their funds to weather the ongoing economic storm.

A drop in consumer confidence has also been firmly linked to the austerity measures implemented by every EU member. This has had a knock-on effect which has seen many small-to medium-manufacturing firms face a choice of accepting a drop in sales or finding cheaper supply avenues to reduce prices, retain customers and maintain margins.

The response from across our industry to these trends needs to be a careful evaluation of such facts and the formulation of plans to deal with them, as while it makes a good headline, I do not want to see any more of our best company’s facing the wall. 
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