Cabinet manufacturers and office furniture heavyweights led the market in 2006. In an analysis of this year's reporting of the FDM 300, cabinets and office furniture showed good gains. Millwork was up slightly, and residential furniture sales were flat (this includes retail sales of many of the largest companies).

 

If a large company is taken out, store fixture sales were up. And sales of RTA companies in the FDM 300 were down.

 

For this analysis, we compared year-to-year sales of companies that were listed in the two most recent FDM 300 issues covering 2005 and 2006. We organized those companies into different market segments to get some idea of each sector's strength.

 

Overall, the FDM 300 is made up of companies we classified as residential furniture (30 percent), cabinets (24 percent), office furniture (17 percent), millwork (13 percent), store fixtures (10 percent) and RTA furniture (5 percent). There are a few companies that make wood products but don't fit into any of these classifications.

 

We compared sales data for 2005 and 2006, as reported in our February 2006 and February 2007 issues, respectively. These were almost all companies that we had sales figures for 2005 and 2006, although there were a few 2005 companies included in the analysis that were not in 2006 because they became part of another FDM 300 company.

 

Cabinet strength continues

The cabinet market has had strong growth for many years. While that growth has slowed a bit, this market is still strong. Company by company, results were mixed, with some of the 69 firms reporting gains, others losses. Overall, FDM 300 companies in the cabinet sector had sales of $12.29 billion in 2006, an increase of 7.1 percent over $11.48 billion in 2005. That's the same rate of growth recorded among this group in 2005.

 

The cabinet segment of the FDM 300 gained 16 percent in annual sales in 2004, and 14 percent in 2003.

 

Office heavyweights gain

Once again, good sales gains came from the office sector. Haworth, Herman Miller, HNI, KI, Knoll and Steelcase reported solid gains, raising the entire sector.

 

In 2005, we recorded annual sales in this sector of $13.41 billion. In 2006, that number increased to $13.97 billion, a 4.2 percent gain.

 

In 2004, office furniture sales were flat, following a 7 percent drop in sales between 2002 and 2003.

 

Retail lifts residential

Looking at residential furniture, there were 85 companies with sales figures for both 2005 and 2006. A few of these were bought out by other companies. Overall, residential sales among this group were flat, from $17.55 billion in 2005 to $17.56 billion in 2006.

 

That said, there are a couple of individual companies to make note of. Ashley, for example, enjoyed large sales gains in 2006, but much of this was related to the company's large retail business.

 

Take away Ashley's overall sales gain and the FDM 300 residential furniture segment's sales are down about $500 million well in the red.

 

Millwork edges up

The millwork sector overall was up 2 percent, from $8.45 billion to $8.62 billion.

 

Most changes here were small, with companies reporting small increases or a few decreases. The largest window and door companies were largely unchanged, based on information we were able to gather.

 

Store fixture changes

The store fixture companies in the FDM 300 had a collective loss in 2006, but this is somewhat misleading. Because of the way Leggett & Platt's store fixture segment was figured, there was a large difference in that company's numbers from 2005 to 2006.

 

Overall, store fixture sales declined from $2.16 billion in 2005 to $1.9 billion. But take away the Leggett & Platt figures and the overall segment records a slight gain, from $1.11 billion to $1.18 billion.

 

RTA down

Sales of RTA companies in the FDM 300 fell, from $3.29 billion in 2005 to $3.09 billion in 2006. That's about a 6 percent decline.

 

With O'Sullivan Industries recently announced closing, overall numbers will be lower this year.

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