Roll label printers in the UK experienced a difficult start to 1996, with a fall in orders, shorter lead times and a drop in employment, according to the finding of the first quarter survey of the British Roll Label Association. The survey of the BPIF Business Information Section for the same period indicates that similar conditions prevailed in the business information sector.

Capacity utilisation in the roll label sector has fallen sharply and prices, particularly in the domestic market, remain under severe downward pressure.

These difficult conditions are not expected to persist, however, and none of the respondents to the BRLA survey expects conditions to deteriorate further in the second quarter. Indeed margins are expected to improve and more than half of the survey’s respondents expect to increase investment in plant and machinery over the coming year.

Many of the survey’s findings mirror those of the BPIF Survey of Trends for the first quarter of 1996 and also those of the wider April CBI Industrial Trends Survey which reported poor performance during the first four months, yet the anticipation of improvements in the next period.

Looking at trade on a seasonal basis, 42 per cent of roll
label printers said that order books were worse than normal for the time of year, compared to 29 per cent in the previous quarter’s survey. More are working on short order books as customers maintain low stocks and place orders as late as possible.

A total of 28 roll
label printers, with a combined turnover of £150 million, participated in the survey.


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