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FE&SFlashNews — 2004-11-08 — News

November 8, 2004

MAFSI Business Barometer Up 1.9% In Q3

MAFSI has released its latest Business Barometer, which measures manufacturers’representatives’sales for each quarter of the year.

Following a 2.9% increase in 2004 Q2, the barometer reported an overall sales growth of 1.9% for the third quarter vs. the same period a year earlier. Reported supply sales grew by 2.4% during the period, both equipment and tabletop sales registered increases of 1.9%, while furniture sales grew by 1.5%.

By region, reps in Canada reported the largest sales improvement during the period, posting growth of 4.2% compared to the third quarter of 2003. Equipment sales in this region registered the highest growth, increasing by 5.3% during the period. Sales of furniture were weakest during the quarter, falling by 1%, the report indicated.

Following Canada, representatives in the Midwest posted the strongest sales growth, reporting sales 2.3% higher than the year-ago period. For this region, supplies registered the highest growth during Q3, increasing by 3.2%. Equipment sales grew by 2.6% and tabletop by 1.3%. Sales of furniture declined in the Midwest by 0.1%.

The Western United States posted overall sales growth of 1.4% during the third quarter. During the period, all four product categories posted higher sales, with growth ranging from 2.1% for supplies to 0.8% for tabletop products.

Sales of foodservice E&S in the South increased by 1.2% in the third quarter compared to the year-ago period. In this region, furniture sales registered the most significant growth, increasing by 3.4% year-over-year. Sales of supplies grew by 2.4%, tabletop by 2.0% and equipment by 0.8%.

In the Northeast, manufacturers’representatives reported overall sales growth of 1.0% vs. the same period last year. Leading this up-tick were sales of tabletop items, which increased by 6% year-over-year. Furniture sales increased by 2.9% and supplies sales by 2.4%. Sales of equipment were flat compared to the year-ago period.

Looking ahead, reps in Canada expect the strongest growth in the fourth quarter (2.9%) compared to Q4 of 2003. Manufacturers’representatives in the Midwest anticipate their sales will increase by 2.4%, in the West by 2.2%, in the Northeast by 2.1% and in the South by 1.7%.

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