Foodservice Equipment Reports

MAFSI Barometer Posts Fourth Consecutive Gain, Up 4.4%

The MAFSI Business Barometer, a reflection of equipment and supplies sales by manufacturers’ reps, rose 4.4% in the third quarter versus the year-prior quarter, marking its fourth consecutive quarterly gain. And sales in the U.S. appeared to be even stronger, as growth in three of four regions of the United States exceeded the average. Canada, where E&S sales suddenly softened, saw sales rise only 2.6%, pulling down the third-quarter average. Sales in Canada were up 8.1% in the second quarter, pushing the second-quarter North American average higher.

The Barometer, field by the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, has risen every quarter since the fourth quarter 2010. All the increases have been in the 4% (1Q/’11) to 5.7% (2Q/’11) range, a sign of a stable, growing market.

Combined with preliminary results from the public E&S companies that have reported third quarter sales, the E&S market shows no signs of a slowdown. However, the reps did forecast a slowing of sales in the fourth quarter to 3.6%. The fourth quarter will be the first in which reps’ sales will be compared to a positive quarter the year prior. Sales rose 5% fourth quarter ’10.

Sales of equipment again led the gains, up 5% in the quarter. Furnishings sales rose 3.3% while durable supplies were up 3.1% and tabletop 2.7%.

The Midwest saw the strongest average sales increase of the five regions, 5.6%, thanks to a 7.1% jump in equipment sales. Sales of other categories were actually sluggish. Sales in the West rose 4.9% and those in the Northeast 4.7%. Sales in the South, the region that appears to be lagging this year, were a bit better than in the second quarter, but managed only a 3.4% rise. They were up just 2.4% in the second quarter.

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