Sales for the FDM 300 companies crashed in 2009. But here’s the important news: Nearly all of the companies in this group survived the year.  

We estimate that sales for this group of 300 companies reached $41.12 billion in 2009, a 19 percent decrease from the 2008 figure of $50.71 billion. (See complete results.)

Employment fell 15 percent, according to our estimate, from 337,861 in 2008 to 285,442 in 2009.

The 2008 sales figure represented a decline of 10.7 percent from the 2007 figure, which was $56.78 billion. The 2007 number was down 2 percent from 2006, when sales reached $57.96.

Companies are much less likely to share sales data with us if it has been a down year. And it was a down year for just about everyone. Likewise, employee numbers are often down, but companies aren’t broadcasting these lower numbers.

In cabinets, KCMA’s year-to-date shipments through November were down about 29 percent. Residential furniture shipments were estimated to be down about 18 percent, according to Smith Leonard. BIFMA shipment numbers for the office/contract segment were down more steeply than had been originally expected -- about 30 percent for 2009.

We were able to determine that a few companies did close, some of which are included on this year’s list (remember, this is a view of the industry in the year 2009).

Owens Inc. shut down both Shawano, Wis., plants in early December. Peoploungers closed its Mantachie, Miss., plant in June and is not in operation. Penloyd was reported closing in January 2009. New Generations Furniture was reportedly closed in May. We had no contact with Mielach Woodwork, but equipment auctions have been held in December and January. Cabinetec reportedly has closed down its Utah cabinet factory in October. This company was closely tied to the boom-and-bust Las Vegas market.

Other notes: Orleans Furniture closed its Columbia, Miss., plant and will continue as an importer. Coffman is now part of P&F Industries. Shermag is in the process of being part of BDM+ group, which includes Bermex, and Dinex. And Barcalounger has closed its Rocky Mount, N.C. plant and has a shared services agreement with American of Martinsville.

Top 10 financial results  

Here’s a quick look at the top 10 companies (see top 25 companies):

  1. Steelcase Inc. This is the fiscal 2009 figure.
  2. Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. This is a rough estimate. We did not get a new number for 2009. Last year, about 40 percent of products were imported. This doesn’t break out sales of company-owned furniture stores.
  3. Masco Corp.’s figure is based on third quarter sales of the cabinet segment, including Merillat and Kraftmaid.
  4. Herman Miller. This is the number provided by the company for its fiscal year 2008.
  5. Andersen Corp. These are rough estimates of annual sales and employees. There have been published reports of some layoffs and cutbacks in some outlying plants, but not at the main Bayport, Minn., operation.
  6. Haworth Inc. Our estimate. Fiscal year doesn’t end until April.
  7. HNI Corp. Figure is based on third quarter results, for office furniture segment only.
  8. Furniture Brands International. The sales number is based on third quarter data.
  9. La-Z-Boy Inc. Information based on 2009 annual report. Total of 73 percent of casegoods are imported. Includes retail sales (13 percent).
  10. Masterbrand Cabinets. Our estimate based on company information.

Will 2010 be a great year? Maybe not. Will it be better than 2009? You don’t have to be Nostradamus to figure that out. You can walk away from a crash landing.

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