Door
by Tara Taffera
June 14th, 2011

The Weather Song

I don’t know if the “Weather Song” is a universal one learned in kindergarten. But here in Virginia my two oldest girls both learned a little ditty that still sticks in my head, though they are now a few years past kindergarten. It goes a little like this: “What’s the weather, what’s the weather, what’s the weather like today? Is it sunny, is it cloudy, what’s the weather like today?” I won’t bore you with the rest as you get the point.

I don’t think anyone in the window industry needs to be reminded of the weather experienced in 2011. Many felt the effects of slowed sales due to a harsh winter in many parts of the nation.

“In February 2011 things ground to a halt,” a window manufacturer representative based in Ohio told me recently. “Things are picking up again now.”

At least two of our DWM bloggers have written recently about how weather conditions have posed significant challenges and in many cases have resulted in slower sales. How are you dealing with these challenges? Are you engaging in various promotional efforts to generate interest in the summer months and make up for slower winter sales? Or are homeowners who waited in the winter now eager to purchase new windows?

Speaking of sales challenges, how has the end of the $1,500 tax credit affected you? The aforementioned Ohio manufacturer also told me that his company is taking 2010 out of the equation when projecting future sales due to the tax credit, as management wants to be sure its projection is accurate.

Another manufacturer takes a similar approach.

“We ‘trend’ forecast, meaning we take the last several years, break [them] down by month and region. We did throw out the 2010 numbers for trending purposes,” said one representative of this particular Pennsylvania-based manufacturer.

So how are your sales tracking in 2011 compared to 2009? While housing still faces significant challenges, what growth areas are you pursuing?

I look forward to hearing from you. Here’s to a sunny, profitable rest of the year.



One comment
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  1. Tara

    The climate has definitely been a factor for many window & door fabricators getting off to a slow start this year. And yes – the reduction of the tax credit has hurt as well. Many believe that last year’s $1500 tax credit caused homeowners to buy earlier than usual as they rushed to get their windows ordered by the end of 2010. This means that the pool of 2011 buyers has been partially drained so demand is now falling behind what it would normally be in 2011. High gasoline prices have also been a factor! This reduces disposable income which might be used on home improvement projects. So why not get a loan to buy new windows? Well, that’s the final factor – credit remains tight.

    The political climate and not the weather that mother nature is sending us is what is preventing a real recovery in the window and door industry. The $1500 tax credit was an artificial boost for our industry. It sure felt good, like a shot of morphine, but when the drug wears off, the disease is still there. The real recovery will not start until the leadership in Washington gets its act together and cures the real problems that plague our economy!

    In the mean time, with a shrinking demand in the marketplace, window and door manufacturers need to make changes, choosing and marketing the highest performing components for their dollar so that they can make windows and doors that the customer will choose over their competitors!

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