Hope springs eternal…

…or words to that effect

In a recent media release issued by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) entitled, ‘Housing Finance Signals Patchy Conditions’ chief economist Harvey Dale said, “At last some areas of finance for property are looking a little better, but a broad-based recovery is proving elusive.”

At the close of 2012 the same can be said of the tile industry. At the moment most tile retailers are enjoying the traditional pre-Christmas spend that many homeowners indulge in.  Come January and February it may well be very different.

Next year Tile Today will turn twenty. During the last 20 years the tile industry has changed in many ways. Virtually all of our manufacturers have disappeared, many producers of added value decoration have closed their doors and the relatively clear wholesale, retail channels have become distinctly blurred.

Some specialists retail groups are expanding, some are holding their own, others are struggling. We have a plethora of cash and carry outlets selling discounted lines at prices below $10 per square metre. At the opposite end of the ladder we have specialist retailers striving to market the very finest ceramic, glass and natural stone products. And what products they are. Tile is now available in every conceivable size, shape, colour and texture. In spite of the cautious approach exhibited by many Australian homeowners and a growing adversity to debt, by and large the industry continues to move forward.

This edition features three interesting interviews with David Fenton of Coulson Tiles, a wholesaler with a reach that extends into every state and territory, Pierre Langenhoven of Ceramic Tile Market, a retail group that is forging a new direction and Graeme Wall of Australasian Tiling Adhesives, our newest adhesive manufacturer.

As per usual Issue 77 features a variety of articles which address current trends in design, production, consumption and features on projects and installation, including a very visual review of the products on show at Cersaie 2012.

Special thanks go to our hard working staff, our highly valued advertisers and readers. We wish you all a merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous New Year.

Tony Stock
Editor