Production and consumption of office and contract furniture in North America is forecast to grow slightly in 2013, followed by a strong gain in 2014, according to the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Assn.

After five consecutive years of declines in annual sales, the overall FDM 300 recorded a sales gain in 2012. We estimated sales for this group of 300 companies in the United States and Canada to be $37.632 in 2012. That’s an increase of 4 percent over sales for this group in 2011, which was $36.167 billion. In 2011 we estimated that sales had declined 2.25 percent from the year before.

In addition, we broke out sales for a group of 20 mid-size and larger office and contract companies selected from the overall FDM 300 list. In 2012, sales for this group were $10.794 billion, an increase of about 7.5 percent over last year’s $10.045 billion. This group comprises American Seating, Haworth, Herman Miller, HNI, Indiana, Inscape, Jasper, Jofco, Kewaunee, KI, Kimball, Knoll, Mayline, Nucraft, OFS, Sico, Spectrum, Steelcase, Trendway and Virco. (See accompanying table for year-to-year comparison.)

Looking at the 10 largest office and furniture manufacturers in Canada and the United States, most posted solid gains in 2012, and have reported small gains or narrow sales declines so far in 2013.

The BIFMA forecast of the U.S. office furniture market, the HIS Global Insight industry forecast model, is adjusted to focus on the value of the U.S. office furniture market defined as consumption rather than historical shipments, or production.

For 2013, for U.S. office furniture market consumption is forecast to reach $9.5 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent. Consumption is forecast to grow to $11.6 billion, a gain of 3 percent, according to BIFMA.
In 2014, production is forecast to be $10.3 billion, a gain of 9 percent, with consumption rising 10.1 percent to $12.8 billion.

BIFMA reported that production declined 1.1 percent overall in 2012, to $9.27 billion. Consumption rose, however, 1.4 percent to $11.29 billion. In 2012, imports accounted for $2.753 billion of the U.S. market, and exports reached $735 million. (In 2011 both production and consumption were up sharply.)

So far in 2013, Michael A. Dunlap & Associates, LLC announced that its April 2013 quarterly MADA / OFI Trends Survey Overall Survey Index was down slightly from January 2013.
“The industry can be described in one simple word – flat!”, said Mike Dunlap. “Given current economic conditions, I think this in not bad news. The overall index continues to remain above “50” and is definitely in line with previous first quarter survey index values I think that the industry is still on solid ground, in spite of some lower indicators.”

The most frequently cited perceived threats to the industry’s success are healthcare costs, transport costs, energy costs, exchange rates, and the costs of materials, especially steel and wood.

“I hold the opinion that the industry will see some slow growth period during the next two quarters of 2013, then see a modest acceleration during mid to late 2013 and into 2014.”

Top ten analysis
1. Steelcase Inc. The largest company in the FDM 300 in 2012 reported an increase in sales for its 2012 fiscal year of more than $300 million over the previous year, to $2.75 billion. For fiscal 2013, announced in late March, the company recorded sales of $2.87 billion. Organic revenue growth was reported by the company to be 5 percent in 2013. For the fourth quarter sales were reported to be flat compared to the previous year.

James P. Hackett, president and CEO, said in a statement, "Our market share gains in the U.S. have been fueled by new products, solutions and experiences for the interconnected world. Most recently, we introduced Gesture, a new seating experience based on our research into new postures influenced by the way users interact with technology. Gesture is just one of the new products we will reveal this year at the NeoCon industry trade show in June."

2. Herman Miller Inc. Sales were up again for the publicly-traded company, to $1.724 billion in 2012. In April, Herman Miller announced an agreement to acquire Maharam Fabric Corp., a New York-based, global designer and provider of interior textiles for commercial, healthcare, and residential interiors.

3. HNI Corp. For the first quarter of HNI’s fiscal 2013, the company reported sales of $442 million, slightly lower than the first quarter of 2012, and an improvement in net income.

4. Haworth. In February 2013, Haworth announced annual sales for 2012 of $1.31 billion, a decline due to sales of Castelli and Groupe Lacasse. Haworth was reportedly encouraged by the 2012 growth experienced in Asia and Latin America as well as in key business segments. In 2012, Haworth’s Asia Pacific sector launched Infinity , a personalized office infrastructure platform that can be customized to evolve with the needs of businesses.

5. Knoll Inc. Knoll announced its first quarter sales of $200.6 million for the quarter, an increase of 2 percent from the first quarter of 2012.

6. Global Group. Our estimate for annual sales remained the same, $750 million.

7. KI. Annual sales were estimated to be $650 million in 2012. In 2013, KI’s Pallas Textiles introduced its new Wild America collection celebrating 1960s culture, and in April KI announced the Grazie seating collection, promoted as the first true ergonomic stack chair that offers a high level of comfort.

8. Kimball. Annual sales were $525.3 in 2012. In May, Kimball announced that its third quarter 2013 net sales for its furniture segment declined 3 percent compared to the prior year due primarily to two large projects in the previous year.

9. Teknion. Our estimate was $500 million in sales in 2012. In March, Teknion announced design partnerships with industrial designers Jeffrey Bernett and Nicholas Dodziuk and an agreement with B&B Italia for its Project Collection.

10. OFS Brands Inc. Company’s annual sales were$240 million in 2012. In March, OFS announced that it was planning an expansion in High Point, N.C., that would create close to 200 jobs.

The FDM 300 is a group of the 300 largest cabinet, furniture, millwork, store fixture, office/contract and component producers in North America. Additional information can be found at www.cabinetmakerfdm.com by clicking on the FDM 300 tab or searching for a specific company.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.