GA supplier and retailer members who took part in a survey about the health of the economy and the state of their businesses over the coming months were generally upbeat about future prospects.
Giftware Association chief executive, Sarah Ward, said: "Our suppliers and retailers are renowned for being resilient, but what also shines through in the feedback from this survey is their optimism.
"Although views may change as we approach the referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, this is an interesting snapshot which reveals that our members have a largely positive outlook regarding the future wellbeing of their businesses."
Companies across the wholesale and retail sectors took part in the survey; from those comprising just one person to others with over a hundred employees. Their turnovers varied from less than £50,000 to more than £8 million.
Companies were asked to compare the next six months with the previous six months.
Some 50 per cent of companies expected business growth, while 41 per cent thought there would be no change and 9 per cent believed it would be lower. A half of those surveyed expected UK demand to be the same; 29 per cent thought it would be stronger and 21 per cent weaker. Nearly a half (47 per cent) expected export demand to be stronger; 41 per cent thought it would remain the same, and 12 per cent believed it would weaken.
Some 62 per cent of respondents thought there would be no change in the number of people they employed, with 32 per cent expecting an increase and 6 per cent a fall.
Award for Andrew
Andrew Illingworth, sales director of Widdop & Co and a former chairman of The Giftware Association, was presented with the GA-sponsored Honorary Achievement Award at The Greats. Andrew said: "I was absolutely thrilled, humbled and dumbfounded to receive the award. I had no knowledge of this and would have never felt that I was eligible for this status within the gift industry."
Andrew has played a significant role in Widdop & Co's recent re-branding and in the wider world of gifts, serving on The GA's national committee for many years and later becoming its chairman. The Greats' awards are organised by Progressive Gifts & Home.
An honour for Henri
Henri Davis, who becomes chairman of The GA at its members' day on 15th June, has been admitted to The Worshipful Company of Stationers, known as The Stationers' Company.
She said: "Being asked to join was a terrific honour and working with others who are passionate about stationery, our industry and its future will be a real privilege."
Business Boost Days
Feedback from The GA's Business Boost Days has been positive, with companies giving a variety of reasons as to why they valued the seminars.
Ian Maguire, head of consultancy at Reckless, who held a seminar about email marketing, reported: "It was a great morning with The Giftware Association sharing our knowledge and inspiring businesses."
The big reveal of The GA's rebranding took place at the association's AGM and members day when the chairmanship passed from Ravensden's Michael Papé to independent retail advisor Henri Davis, the first person from a retailing background to hold the position.
Blue Eyed Sun managing director, Jeremy Corner, took over as vice-chairman.
For more information on The GA, visit www.ga-uk.org