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49-53 POOL TRENDS:SPN Master pages 19/11/08 01:46 Page 2
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Outgoing British Swimming Pool
Federation Jamie Adams told the
association’s annual conference this
autumn that he was told by one SPATA
member that each sale felt like “a victory”.
”For many of the newer firms, this is the
first time they will have experienced the
challenges of surviving a downturn and we
have already unfortunately seen some
casualties. Regrettably I can’t help feeling
that there may be more ahead.
“The tightening up on cheap money and
easy credit, lower disposable income and
an ongoing drop in property values
presents the most serious challenge our
industry has faced for many years which
makes me wonder if there has ever been a
better time to be a member of a well
organized trade association that knows
where it’s going.”
If new pools are likely to be less common, them pool
One Kent pool builder told us they had
renovation is likely to be the highest priority for pool
builders over the coming 18 months
made the move to imported vinyl pools in
a bid to offer more options.
“We’ve been looking to offer some
more options, so we added fiberglass and
vinyl-liner pools to our range. Sales have
been steady. There’s certainly a demand
here. But we’re just getting our feet on the
ground – we’ve only had vinyl pools for
four or five months.
Though it’s been around for 30 years,
fibreglass is still considered new for our
market. It seems as though there are a few
more buyers out there.
One challenge is that people generally
expect one piece to be much, much
cheaper than concrete. While it usually is,
relatively speaking, it’s still expensive. So
when consumers discover the price, our
final quotation tends to drop.”
“Because of current market conditions,
we needed to figure out how to run our
business on less costs. We are focused on
reducing overhead costs, but we realised
we needed to look at everything. We
‘GOING INTERNATIONAL’
OFFERS SOME HOPE
When things are tough in the UK what’s the prospects of UK companies pitching for overseas
contracts? The French market has been the target in the past two year for an increasing
number of pool builders.
The French market hasn’t escaped the turn down in trade but many believe the impact hasn’t
been the same as in the UK or other areas of Europe.
One builder reports: “My company didn’t ignore the signs of a down turn in world trade
in 2007 – whilst we already pursued export sales, last year we employed two intelligent in
house ‘go getting’ sales people a sales manager in France and a person to look after
Spain. Within months, and although the start up costs were high we have in a
comparatively short period attracted an increase in additional and new sales. In France alone
our sales have seen increases outside the set budget which has been an excellent barometer for
other products.
“We have additional costs making packaging, literature and product instruction sheets changes
to suit the different markets – the web site is at this time being translated into 3 languages. We
have seen a remarkable increase in areas that would have in the past been difficult to reach. But with
constant market research and a will to win we surely going in the right direction.“
50 swimming pool news DECEMBER 08 Digital edition available at www.swimmingpoolnews.co.uk
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