Foodservice Equipment Reports

MAFSI Barometer Growth Slows To 2.9% In Fourth Quarter

Sales growth of foodservice equipment and supplies slowed unexpectedly in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to data from the newly released Business Barometer fielded by the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry. Overall sales rose just 2.9% in the quarter, compared with the fourth quarter in 2013, as pronounced weakness in the Northeast and Canada undercut moderate sales gains in the rest of the country. The results compare with a 3.8% gain in the third quarter and are significantly below the reps’ 4Q forecast of 4.9% growth. The moderate 4Q sales gain does come on top of a strong 4.8% increase in sales for the 4Q/’13.

The slowdown was most apparent for equipment, which managed only 2.9% growth compared with a 4.1% gain in the 3Q. Overall supplies and tabletop sales rose 3.5% each while furnishings sales lagged at 1.2% growth.

Among the regions, sales in the West led with 4.6% growth, including a 4.8% gain in equipment sales. Sales in the South rose 3.5% while those in the Midwest were up 3.4%. Sales rose only 2.4% in Canada and a paltry 1.1% in the Northeast, which saw equipment sales rise only 0.8% while sales of durable supplies were flat.

In spite of the sales slowdown, quotation and consultant activity were significantly stronger in the 4Q than in the third, boding well for sales in 2015.

The reps expect a much stronger 1Q/’15 with sales growth pegged at 4.5%. Their forecast for the entire year is a more cautious 4.1%.

The entire MAFSI Business Barometer is available at mafsi.org.

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