Foodservice Equipment Reports

MAFSI Barometer Jumps 5% In Fourth Quarter; First Positive Quarter Since 2007

Equipment and supplies sales rose a dramatic 5% in the fourth quarter 2010 versus the same quarter in ’09, according to the latest data from the Business Barometer fielded by the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry. It was the first positive number for the Barometer since the fourth quarter ’07. All five regions and all four product categories tracked by the quarterly survey were positive. The gain compares with a 12.8% decline in the fourth quarter ’09 and a 4.7% decline in ’08.

Even hard-hit markets in the West and Midwest showed gains. Overall sales in the West rose 3.8% and were up 4.9% in the Midwest. In comparison, sales plummeted 17.8% in the West and 15.6% in the Midwest fourth quarter ’09. Sales rose a strong 7.4% in the Northeast, 5% in Canada and 4.4% in the South. It was the second consecutive quarter of gains in Canada and the South.

A strong swing in equipment sales is apparent. Overall, equipment sales rose 6%. Durable supplies were up 3.8%, tabletop 2.7% and even furnishing managed a 0.3% gain. Equipment sales showed strong gains in all five regions.

The reps surveyed are also optimistic about the future. They forecast another 4.2% gain the first quarter and a 5.8% overall gain for the coming year versus ’10. Part of the optimism is based on an increase in quoting activity—56.4% are quoting more—and consultant activity. Chain and college and university customers are the most active operator segments.

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