Foodservice Equipment Reports

Expanded MAFSI Barometer Measures Record Gain In 2Q

Sales of foodservice equipment and supplies posted surprisingly strong gains in the second quarter of 2013 versus the year-prior quarter, according to the MAFSI Business Barometer from the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, released last week. The 6.1% jump in sales was a record quarterly gain for the Barometer, which was first established 11 years ago.  “The result was solid and consistent from region to region and throughout most product segments,” said Michael Posternak, principal at PBAC, the New York- based rep firm, in his commentary accompanying the release.

The reps see the uptick continuing; they forecast a 6% gain in sales for Q3, also a record. Combined sales of seven publicly reporting E&S conglomerates saw strong 2Q gains as well. (See related story this issue.) The reps’ annual forecast is for an increase of 4.7% versus 2012.

Sales of refrigeration and ice machines and cooking equipment led the gains, per data from the expanded Barometer, which now tracks trends for seven sub-categories within the equipment category. All seven categories registered gains of at least 3.3% (ventilation), with most in the 4% to 5% range.

Overall, equipment sales rose 6.8%, sales of durable supplies were up 5.2%, tabletop sales posted a 3.9% gain, and furnishings, after several quarters of flat or declining sales, rebounded with a 3.1% sales increase. (The sub-categories now align with market data from the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers and FER forecasts based on those numbers.)

Among the regions, the Midwest and Canada both saw Q2 sales versus Q2/12 rise 6.8%, sales rose 6% out West, the Northeast registered a 5.9% gain and overall sales were up 4.7% in the South.

The reps, coming off a gain of only 2.4% in the first quarter, the smallest increase since the market recovered 4Q/10, had forecast that sales would rise only 3.1% Q2. They “thus far exceeded their own expectations,” Posternak wrote. He noted that in previous surveys, reps had reported that the “pipeline was filling” and “the results are clearly in.” Of reps reporting, 48% now see increased consultant activity versus only 25% four quarters ago; 58% of firms are quoting more compared with 39% four quarters prior.

Posternak also praised the MAFSI membership for their participation in the quarterly survey, noting that 65% of the total membership responded to the 2Q survey. “MAFSI reps have their thumbs on the pulse of their markets and are generating highly credible metrics in the aggregate.”

The complete MAFSI Business Barometer Report, which includes product detail and Q3 forecast by MAFSI’s five regions, is available at mafsi.org.