MAFSI Barometer Rose 4.4% In Fourth Quarter
The MAFSI Business Barometer rose 4.4% in the fourth quarter 2016, versus the fourth quarter 2015, as manufacturers reps reported better than forecast sales. Reps had forecast sales would grow 3.6% in the quarter, following a 3.6% gain in the third quarter. For the year as a whole, the average quarterly gain was slightly more than 4.4%, half a point slower than the four-quarter average increase in 2015, but significantly stronger than 2014’s 3.3% average gain.
The reps forecast sales will grow 3.9% in the first quarter of 2017. They also reported a strong increase in quotation activity, with 48% seeing more quotation activity. The differential between those seeing more and those reporting less jumped to 38, from 24 in the 3Q/16. The differential of more and less consultant activity also rose from 23 to 27.
“Given that the US economy at large, as measured by real gross domestic product, grew at 2.4% (in 2016) and Canada at a mere 1.5%, the foodservice equipment and supplies industry had a very healthy year once again,” wrote Michael Posternak, principal at PBAC Associates, in his commentary.
Equipment sales rose 4.5%, sales of durable supplies were up 3.3%, tabletop sales grew 3.9%, and furnishings sales increased 4.3%. On a regional basis, growth was strongest in the West and Northeast, at 5.4% and 4.9% respectively. Sales rose 4.7% in the South and 3.9% in the Midwest. Reps in Canada reported overall sales rose 2.3%.
Among the equipment sub-categories, primary cooking equipment sales jumped 5.5%, sales of refrigeration and ice machines rose 4.8% and warewashing equipment posted a 4.5% gain.
The reps have forecast overall sales will increase 4.4% in 2017.