Overall annual sales for the FDM 300 companies fell 19 percent in 2009, but the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Assn. predicted a sales decline of 30 percent for the office and contract sector.

BIFMA has lowered its 2010 projections. For 2010, BIFMA expects production will fall 4.6 percent, and consumption will decline 1.9 percent.

To look at things another way, we selected a group of 20 large and medium-size companies for which we had sales numbers or what we felt were good estimates over the past five years. For this group, sales were off only 15.4 percent. (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.)

A complete list of the 2009 FDM 300 companies was in the February issue of CabinetMaker+FDM, and the list and more detailed information on each company is on the CabinetMaker+FDM Web site.

Top ten office/contract manufacturers

Steelcase was both the largest office/contract company and the biggest FDM 300 company in 2009 (see a chart of the top 10). It’s important to note that the company’s primary focus is on the office furniture segment, but healthcare, education and distributed work are also important areas and were markets that were stronger last year. Health care, government and higher education represented 36 percent of North American 2009 revenue. The company also announced that several manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Canada would close in 2010.

Number two Herman Miller has had several quarters of stronger sales, and purchased healthcare furnishings maker Nemschoff Inc. in mid-2009 (listed separately in the 2009 FDM 300). Haworth is closing its Calgary, Alberta, plant and earlier closed its Allegan, Mich., seating plant.

Revenue increased for HNI in the most recent quarter. Knoll reports demand stabilizing at current lower levels, and the company sees its greatest growth outside of the office systems category.

Global Group operates many U.S. and Canadian locations but our information is incomplete. KI is emphasizing business, government, education and healthcare markets.

Kimball reported furniture segment sales for the most recent quarter fell 30 percent. The company has consolidated some of its southern Indiana plants. For Teknion, we did not receive any new information and this is our estimate. OFS Brands closed one if its Indiana plants in early 2009.

Whether a company has $1 billion in annual sales or $10 million, everyone is hoping for some better news in 2010.

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