January 2013

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Page 33 of 83

2013 Business Outlook Taxes, Uncertainty Are Heading Higher As CED went to press with the January issue and this 2013 Business Outlook Report, the U.S. financial story was still very much a ���cliff��� hanger ��� and the nation seems to be holding its breath for a happy ending. By Kim Phelan Most AED dealers enjoyed a pretty decent 2012, when all is said and done, but to say they���re not expecting 2013 to be too great would be an understatement. Status quo performance or modest growth not exceeding 10 percent are the brightest of dealers��� outlooks, but the feeling of trepidation or flat-out pessimism is right below the surface of any positive thinking right now. Our conclusion ��� based on how dealers checked through CED���s Business Outlook Survey questions, as well as their written comments and a few interview conversations ��� is that a blanket of tense uncertainty is stretched across much of the equipment distribution industry. But some paradoxes are evident in our results. Seventy-seven percent of survey respondents indicated they have no plan to alter the number of their dealer locations, but 63 percent said they would likely make at least modest increases in their personnel headcount. A whopping 78 percent said that the business mood of their best customers is ���cautious and leaning toward rental for any short-term needs,��� yet across every department of the dealership the majority of executives predicted at least a 1- to 10-percent rise in 2013 revenues, with new equipment sales (46 percent) and rental (48 percent) very close in that projected growth tabulation. Forty-nine percent expect 1- to 10-percent higher revenues for used equipment sales, 51 percent expect service sales to grow in that range, and 54 percent are looking for 1-10 percent growth in parts sales this year. Even so, 47 percent predict their 32 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | January 2013 32_Biz_Outlook_Feature_KP.indd 32 12/21/12 1:35 PM

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