This year's Top 500 provides more reasons to be festive

By Darryl Danielli, Wednesday 28 November 2012

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John Lewis is tugging at the nation's heartstrings via another emotional rollercoaster of a TV campaign and the nation's high streets are festooned with brightly lit fire hazards that cause children to gape in awe and confused fear in equal measure.

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Yes, it’s that time of year again – the PrintWeek Top 500 is out.

And the even better news is that the season of good cheer seems to have reached the industry’s 500 biggest companies, with weighted average sales growth and profit margins at their highest level for years.

No, your vision hasn’t been blurred by the first flakes of Christmas snow, it genuinely seems that the impact of the tough trading of the past few years is starting to accelerate the much-needed structural change that was first evidenced in last year’s Top 500.

The cauterizing effect of the recession also seems to be healing the collective wounds caused by the downturn and the banking crisis. That’s not to say that you will necessarily find many print bosses talking in gushing terms about the market, but what we appear to be witnessing is many companies reaping the bottom-line benefits of tighter cost control, efficient production processes and margin-driven sales strategies.

All this suggests that we’re coming to the end of the period of companies fighting inward-looking battles for survival, with the industry’s leading lights, big and small, demonstrating that now is the time to start sticking our heads above the parapet to try to identify new opportunities for sustainable growth. And that’s a gift that will keep on giving, because sustainable growth should be for the whole year – not just Christmas.

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