Sales grew in the fourth quarter 2012 and manufacturers expect them to continue to grow this year


More than two thirds of product manufacturers reported sales growth in the fourth quarter 2012 and most expect futher growth in sales this year, according to the latest Construction Products Association (CPA) state of trade survey.

CPA economics director Dr Noble Francis said that unlike previous quarters, the growth in sales last quarter was not just driven by housing and had spread to “other key sectors including private commercial and infrastructure.” The report found that 85% of light side manufacturers and almost three-quarters of heavy side manufacturers are plannign for a rise in sales in 2014.

Francis added: “Demand for exports picked up in the second half of 2013 and manufacturers anticipate exports rising further in 2014, primarily due to wider economic recovery in key export markets combined with the relatively low value of sterling.

“As a consequence, a rise in product sales during Q4 occurred for the majority of manufacturers, across both heavy and light products.

“Importantly, manufacturers reported that, overall, capacity is not a significant issue and is unlikely to be during 2014 despite an expected rise in demand.

“Of concern, however, manufacturers reported margins continue to be severely hindered by cost rises, especially in energy and transport fuel. In addition, manufacturers also reported that labour costs and materials

Other key findings in the CPA state of trade survey:

  • 67% of both heavy and light manufacturers reported that sales rose compared with the third quarter.
  • 61% of heavy manufacturers and 67% of light manufacturers also reported that sales rose in Q4 compared to one year earlier.
  • For 2014 as a whole, 73% of heavy manufacturers and 85% of light manufacturers are anticipating a rise in sales.
  • 45% of heavy manufacturers and 58% of light manufacturers anticipated that exports would rise in 2014.
  • Over the next 12 months, 24% of heavy and 25% of light firms are anticipating that they will be operating at 90% capacity or above.
  • 82% of heavy manufacturers and 86% of light manufacturers reported rises in fuel costs.
  • 76% of both heavy and light manufacturers suffered from a rise in energy costs.