Foodservice Equipment Reports

FER Revises 2011-12 E&S Market Forecasts Slightly

Foodservice Equipment Reports has revised it forecasts for growth of manufacturers’ sales of foodservice equipment and supplies in North America for 2011 and ’12. The revisions update forecasts made last July in preparation for the magazine’s annual Presidents Preview E&S Market Forecast meeting.

The forecast for 2011 has been increased to current-dollar growth of 4.7% from July’s forecast of 4%. Real growth this year is now pegged at 2.9%, up from 2.2%. FER Publisher Robin Ashton and forecasting partner John Muldowney, v.p.-marketing at Alto-Shaam, left the forecast for next year essentially unchanged with nominal growth predicted at 4.6% and real growth of 2.6%.

But forecasts within product categories changed more dramatically. The forecasts for nominal growth of primary cooking equipment and refrigeration and ice machines sales in ’12 were cut 0.8 point and 0.5 point respectively, though still expected to grow 5.5% and 5.4%. On the other hand, the forecast for storage and handling equipment was raised to 3% from 2.5%, and that for furnishings and custom fabrication was boosted to 4.4% from 3.5%. On the supplies side, the forecast for smallwares was lowered slightly, mostly as a result of a smaller-than-predicted increase in prices, while the tabletop and servingware forecast was raised half a point to 3.2%.

“John and I thought we were a bit too aggressive in next year’s forecast for cooking and refrigerated products,” Ashton said, “in light of what now looks like another year of fairly flat growth for operator sales and continuing softness in the spec markets. We frankly expected more operator recovery in’12 back in July.”

He added “The public equipment companies, which are oriented toward these two categories, have shown quite strong growth in ’11 and the comparisons year to year get harder. So we bumped the two categories down just a bit.”

Ashton said a surge in front-of-the-house renovation by many operators, a trend expected to continue into ’12, led them to boost the forecasts for furnishings and tabletop.

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