Plimsoll Publishing Limited have launched their First Edition 2003 – Leather Merchants & Wholesalers Analysis in an attempt to uncover what strategies companies should take over the next 12 months. The analysis includes a free ‘Success Strategy 2003’ pack and reveals the names and strategies the industry should take to become more successful.

For 15 (21.1%) companies, success will be mere survival

Recent years have seen these companies deteriorate. Levels of debt are dangerously high at 15.3% of sales. They are also suffering from declining sales with a fall of 19% last year.

2003 Success Strategy for Survival: consolidate to reduce debts by cutting costs and people. It is essential to return to profitability. The only other option is to consider being acquired by a stronger company.

For 14 (19.7%) companies, success will be to improve margins

These companies are exceptional in their ability to take large market shares, increasing sales by 16.1% on average last year. Yet woeful margins and high debts have left these companies with very little to show for their success.

2003 Success Strategy for Improving Margins: these companies must slow down on sales growth to allow margins to improve from a current average of 0.4% to at least a 2.8% margin in 2003. These companies will need to consider costs more carefully to stay competitive.

For 30 (42.3%) companies, success will be to get back into the market

Market performance in recent years for these companies has been poor, sales declining 1% last year. Although focused on profits, these companies need to get back in the game for long-term staying power.

2003 Success Strategy for Gaining Market: these companies need to stop playing it safe. To compete, these companies need to attain to at least the industry growth average. This may mean spending some more of their 4% average margins now to expand in the future.

For 12 (16.9%) companies, success will be to maintain high performance

These companies are every business owner’s dream. Leading the industry, these companies are winning on all fronts with a strong balance sheet, 11.4% average sales growth and 4.6% average margins.

2003 Success Strategy for Maintaining High Performance: perhaps the most challenging strategy of them all is to stay in a winning position. Try going on the acquisition trail while you have the cash to spend. It is essential these companies do not get complacent and allow the industry to catch up.