Green shoots hold out hope for 2015


Christmas is almost upon us and the new year is looming – so did 2014 deliver on all its promises?

On the whole, it seems it did. Yes, the market is still far from easy and the economy is still very much a work in progress (as highlighted in last week’s Autumn Statement), but the much-discussed green shoots appear to be growing sturdily in print, if not quite flowering just yet.

There’s no doubt that some firms are still suffering from the after effects of the downturn, and as a result the inevitable cashflow-straightening start to the year will pose a challenge for many.

However, after trawling though the PrintWeek 2014 archive in preparation for our review of the year, it’s clear that the business failure rate seems to have significantly slowed compared with recent years. More than that, investments in kit, M&A activity and start-ups look to be at their highest level since 2008.

Of course, the industry is still going through a significant period of change, both technologically and structurally, and overcapacity remains an issue in many sectors.

But as might be evidenced in our annual Top 500, which we have moved to January to include the December year-ends, with the pain on the wane then the gain of the past 12 months will hopefully be reflected in the profit margins of the industry at large.

And if that proves to be the case, then the Top 500 should make for some very happy new year reading indeed.

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