More Insights on 2012

 

Todd Woods

 

Window World

 

As Window & Door prepared its annual forecast issue, industry executives shared their thoughts and predictions for the coming year in much more depth than could be gathered together in one article. In "More Insights on 2012," we present their detailed answers to questions about the coming year.

 

First, let’s start with the most general question for a forecast piece. What do you expect 2012? Will 2012 finally be “the year” we start seeing some turnaround, or is recovery further off than that?

We are hopeful that the recovery will come sooner than later. We also know that we cannot dwell on what will or won’t happen with the economy, which we have no control over.  Rather, Window World focuses on continuing to gain market share using our tried-and-true philosophy that has been used from the beginning, give our franchisees an opportunity to operate their own business and offer only the finest quality products, professionally installed with distinction and integrity—and do so at the lowest possible price. Quite simply, the best for less.

What do you expect the biggest challenges for the industry will be in 2012?

  • An uncertain economy
  • Uncertainty about what the new Energy Star standards are going to be in 2013

OK, let’s break it down a bit…What does New Construction look like in 2012?

As you know, Window World focuses on replacement and restoration products and services so I really do not have a lot of input for you on new construction.  I’m afraid however that the outlook is not great.

What about remodeling/replacement work? What is likely to drive business in this segment?

As mentioned above, people are not buying/building new homes but instead are choosing to stay in their existing homes.  With that decision home owners are deciding to upgrade their homes.  Some of the reasons it’s attractive to do so are:

  • Less maintenance
  • Energy efficiency
  • Return on investment

What’s going to be happening with energy efficiency in the coming year? Is the industry focus on ramped-up Energy Star requirements? Are retail channels gaining traction with “whole home performance” efforts? Is the industry chasing triple panes and other means of better energy performance numbers?

As it applies to windows and doors, I think the industry has had many starts and stops during the last couple of years, which is confusing for homeowners. From the tax credit .30/.30, to R-5, to Energy Star changes, manufactures are trying to respond to whatever the latest “thing” is.  Different regions of the country require different solutions, so I tend to lean toward Energy Star, which breaks the country into zones as being the better guide for homeowners. With regard to “whole home performance” Window World’s primary product is windows but I must say that we are certainly more focused than ever on our entry door and siding lines. Our siding program has up to 1 ½” of insulating underlayment to help reduce energy bills in both summer and winter.

On a (hopefully) positive note, do you see any particular product segments or geographic regions outperforming the industry as a whole?

  • Doors
  • Siding

How much of an impact does lending (or lack thereof) have on the business? The National Association of Home Builders is making financing-related discussions one of its top priorities this year—are they on the mark?

Our financing program continues to grow.

For those who are buying, what window and door products are they selecting? What features are important?

Products differ from region to region (double hung in the eastern U.S., sliders in the upper Midwest and West Coast), however there are some desired features that are consistent:

  • Warranty
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Style – People want their homes to make more of a statement via colors, interior wood grains, grid patterns, etc.  Our partnership with Kathy Ireland Home has addressed this for our customers.

Is your company likely to be hiring, laying off, or maintaining the status quo in 2012?

As we continue to grow our store count and expand into more markets, we will be hiring on the corporate level to support them with marketing, training, and other services.

 

Window & Door's "More Insights on 2012" also features questions and answers about the coming year from the following people: