“In North America, the advertising and promotional products business has evolved into a price-driven industry as a result of the economic conditions faced during the past five years, while compliance and product safety has become top of mind,” BIC Group said, in its statement. “In Europe, the industry continued to be unfavorably impacted by a difficult economic environment, especially in southern countries, while northern countries have started to show signs of recovery with single-digit growth rates.”
For Q4, BIC Group pointed to progress in promotional hard goods within the North American market, supported by its britePix imprinted technology. The group cautioned, though, that making gains in the U.S. promotional calendar industry was becoming a serious challenge. “North America was notably affected by the weak performance of the calendar business in a highly competitive environment,” BIC Group said.
Despite recent weakness in sales, BIC officials now expect BIC Graphic to increase its revenues by low single digits in 2014. “In advertising and promotional products, with customers’ service now restored and a new brand position as BIC Graphic, the team has started to build the right platform to recover sales growth,” said Mario Guevara, CEO of BIC Group.Beginning with this earnings statement, BIC Group is reporting the entirety of its promotional products sales under the BIC Graphic (not BIC APP) umbrella, following an official brand merger announced earlier this year. Ranked by Counselor as the fourth-largest supplier in the industry, BIC Graphic (and Norwood) reported its combined 2012 North American ad specialty sales fell to $324 million, a year-over-year decrease of 7.4%.