Foodservice Equipment Reports

MAFSI Barometer Hits Two-Year High

Driven by surging equipment sales, the quarterly Business Barometer maintained by the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry rose 5.1% in the second quarter compared with the same quarter in 2014. It was the strongest gain since the second quarter 2013 and topped the first quarter’s 4.7% increase.

But the results may be the peak of the current cycle. The Barometer’s forward-looking indicators softened. The reps surveyed forecast that sales will increase 4.3% in the third quarter. And the measures tracking quotation and consultant activity also were lower than during the first quarter. For all of 2015, the reps previously had forecasted slower 4.1% growth.

Sales of refrigeration, ice machines, cooking equipment and prep equipment were particularly robust during the quarter. Refrigeration sales jumped 6.4%, cooking equipment posted a 5.5% gain and prep-equipment sales rose 5.3%. On the slower side, warewashing-equipment sales were up 3.6% and ventilation products saw a 3.8% gain.

Tabletop products saw a second consecutive quarter of strong sales increases. Sales of such products rose 4.8% in the second quarter, slower than the 5.6% increase in the first quarter, but still quite robust. Supplies sales rose 4.3%. Supplies were up 5% first quarter. The strong supplies and tabletop gains may be a result of the improving fortunes of full-service operators in the last half of 2014 and so far in 2015.

There was also quite a bit of disparity between the regions again. Growth in the West and Midwest was a robust 6.2% and sales in the South rose 5.1%. But reps in the Northeast saw only a 3% gain, while sales in Canada were up 2.8%. The Canadian economy is being hit with the fallout from oil-price declines.

The percentage of reps reporting increased consultant activity fell 10 points to 39% from 49% in the first quarter. Responses to “Quoting more” also fell, from 58% to 51%. But the differential with those saying they are seeing less of both activities remain large with a 39 point positive differential on quotation activity and a 28 point spread on consultant activity.

The complete MAFSI Barometer can be seen at mafsi.org.

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