Recently our new prime minister may have been a little concerned that the “Brown bounce”, the feelgood factor following his enthronement at No 10, was rebounding on him. The stockmarket has shot up and down like a yo-yo and the press has been full of doom-laden stories about the credit crunch looming over the US, UK and other western economies.

But despite the market jitters, there is still a consensus that the economic fundamentals are reasonably sound and, at least this side of the Atlantic, the timber sector seems to be siding with the more bullish outlook camp. The latest results from leading North American companies are nothing to write home about, but their Nordic counterparts are posting strong profits. And in the UK we’ve got more positive news.

Following James Latham plc’s announcement of a powerful profits performance, James Donaldson this week unveiled an impressive 193% earnings rise and plans for expansion in England.

Reports of growth and development from other companies indicate that the sector is not just being buoyed up by a still relatively healthy economy, but also detecting an underlying market swing to timber.

Merchant and trussed rafter specialist Harlow Bros has added two new outlets to its branch network, Arnold Laver is investing £3.5m in its new depot in Sheffield, and German-based engineered timber and insulation producer Steico is extending its distribution into Scotland. Interestingly Travis Perkins is also fine-tuning its timber focus, developing a network of wood specialist outlets within its builders merchant empire.

TTJ is catching the mood too. Our annual TTJ Awards presentations are all but sold out (guest numbers are expected to be 30% up on 2006) and we’re also investing for the future.

We’ve also relaunched our website,, and created a new site for our sister title Timber Building So, the industry now has even more opportunities to broadcast the good timber news.