Here’s your potential margin killer next year as corporate executives expect sales to weaken in 2013 (via the CEB survey of business confidence):
“CEB’s index of global business confidence continued to slide as revenue growth expectations fell under the weight of the euro zone crisis and slowing emerging markets. Of particular note, expectations for hiring and investment declined as executive perceptions of consumer strength sank. However, one silver lining emerged: executive concern about commodity and labor cost pressure declined substantially. In addition, executives in North America remain more confident than their peers in Asia and Europe (even though their outlook slid this quarter as well).
…Growth outlook among executives deteriorated. The percentage of executives anticipating top-line revenue growth in the next 12 months decreased from 69% to 59%. Executive expectations about growth of industry peers deteriorated as well: 47% of executives expect higher industry revenues (down from 57% last quarter).”