For the FDM 300, the year 2013 was better than 2012.

We calculated annual sales for this group of 300 companies to be $39.630 billion in 2013, an increase of 5.3 percent over sales estimated for the year 2012.

Sales increases in 2012 and 2013 come after five consecutive years of declines from 2007 to 2011.

In 2013, cabinet companies led the sales gains. Many medium-sized cabinet companies recorded gains well above 5 percent. In furniture and millwork, results were mixed. Some of the largest companies in the FDM 300 also had smaller gains or declines due to consolidations and other changes.

There were fewer actual company closings for any year that I can remember.

Cardell Cabinetry closed its large cabinet manufacturing plant in San Antonio, which has been reported here previously. Less well known was the closing of Eagle Industries, a Kentucky furniture manufacturer. AP Industries closed its Quebec wood bedroom manufacturing operation. The word first came via Twitter, the first plant closing tweet we’ve seen. Or should we say the first one that was accurate? There were several social media reports of companies closing that proved to be incorrect.

Meanwhile, Fortune Brands (MasterBrand Cabinets) bought WoodCrafters, a large Texas company that makes cabinets and vanities for big box and other retail stores and had grown even through the worst of the recession. We had visited both Cardell and WoodCrafters in recent years and are sorry to see them leave the list.

Also, one former FDM 300 company returned to the list as Haworth sold Groupe Lacasse to a Quebec investment group. We’ll have more details about these company changes and others coming up in a future issue.

What’s to learn from this year’s FDM 300? That this is a progressive group of companies that is, for the most part, always changing and improving. And planning for another better year in 2014 – that would be three in a row.

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