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NAPL: Business Continues to Weaken for Commercial Printers

Press release from the issuing company

PARAMUS, NJ, July 25, 2002 --The National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the trade association for the commercial printing industry, has issued its June Printing Business Conditions Special Update with indicators showing that business continued to weaken in June for commercial printers, reducing both confidence and the NAPL Printing Business Index to five-month lows. The report offers an optimistic note however, pointing out that the current indicators do not mean that the industry is going back into recession, but rather that, as the economy gains strength, print's recovery, as expected, will be painfully slow. The NAPL Printing Business Index (PBI), the association's comprehensive measure of printing industry activity, fell to 45.5 in June, down from 49.2 in May. That is the second consecutive decline and the second consecutive reading below the 50.0 level. A PBI reading above 50.0 signifies that more printers report business is picking up than report business is slowing down. Conversely, an index reading below 50.0 indicates the opposite condition. Previously, the PBI had advanced six consecutive months, from a record-low 33.4 in October 2001 to 53.6 in April 2002, as both current activity and confidence grew. Despite the recent setbacks, the index is still up 13.8% since January of this year, and 35.9% since last October. NAPL Vice President and Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi, stated, "As we've emphasized all along, lingering weakness in corporate profits and advertising will keep print from recovering from recession as quickly as the economy. Originally, we expected print sales to grow 2.2% to 3.4% in 2002. But recovery has been so slow that sales growth at the very bottom of that range is the best we're likely to do this year. Our forecast for 2003 remains unchanged. Barring a setback in our war on terrorism, print sales will grow a healthy 6.1% to 7.5% next year as recovery reaches full speed." The NAPL Printing Business Index NAPL developed its unique Printing Business Index (PBI) as a comprehensive measure of printing activity that includes critical metrics such as current business conditions, expected future business conditions (confidence), work-on-hand, hiring plans, and pre-tax profitability. A PBI reading above 50.0 means that more printers report that activity is picking up than report that activity is slowing down. A PBI reading below 50.0 reflects the opposite situation. The PBI declined to 45.5 in June 2002, off from 49.2 in May. Despite the recent downturn, the PBI is still ahead 13.8% since January. NAPL’s Printing Business Conditions Special Update includes information on printing industry sales and profitability, as well as macroeconomic data for the national economy. Available to NAPL corporate and associate members only, the update report is published six times a year by NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center. NAPL corporate and associate members who wish to receive the report free via e-mail immediately upon publication may sign up for this service by calling Roland Dumas at NAPL, (800) 642-6275, ext. 1347. Copies are also available free of charge to those members through the NAPL website at www.napl.org. Further information about NAPL economic research programs may be obtained by contacting Mr. Paparozzi at the NAPL Printing Economic Research Center at [email protected]. About NAPL Chartered in 1933, NAPL is a not-for-profit trade association representing the $88 billion commercial printing industry. NAPL’s mission is "To enable the printing community to profit from change" through a full range of management and educational services to its membership. In addition to on-site training at its Center for Professional Development in Paramus, New Jersey, and Management Institute (MI) courses held at Northwestern University, NAPL offers consulting services as well as an annual Top Management Conference (TMC) recognized as a leading industry source of strategic ideas. The organization’s Printing Economics Research Center (PERC) produces the Economic Edge newsletter, the Printing Business Conditions Special Update, and the Leading Indicators Service, a source of late-breaking data on trends within the graphic arts industry. Its Communications Department develops and distributes a variety of industry-specific periodicals and special reports, including Printing Manager magazine. NAPL also has a 33% interest in the Graphic Arts Show Company, which owns such major industry events as Graph Expo and Print.

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