Office and contract manufacturers continue sales gains into 2012
July 9, 2012 | 7:00 pm CDT

Most of the major office and contract furniture manufacturers in the FDM 300 had a strong year in 2011, and most of the publicly traded companies in the office/contract group have reported stronger quarterly sales in early 2012.
U.S. production of office furniture reached $9.375 billion in 2011, a gain of 13 percent. U.S. consumption rose by a similar amount, 12.7 percent, to $11.131 billion, according to the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Assn.

In 2010, U.S. production reached $8.3 billion, a gain of 5.8 percent, Overall U.S. consumption in the sector, which includes imports, increased 7 percent in 2010 to $9.877 billion. In 2009, consumption fell 29 percent and U.S. production was down 29.7 percent to $7.845 billion.

In March, the BIFMA HIS Global Insight industry forecast model projected 2012 U.S. production to be $9.2 billion, a 2 percent decline, with U.S. consumption at $11.2 billion, a slight increase. For 2013, larger increases were forecast both for production (6.8 percent) and consumption (6.6 percent).

About half of U.S. exports go to Canada, which accounted for 62 percent of imports into the U.S. in 2000. That share dropped to about 40 percent in 2010, while China’s share of imports rose from 13 to 40 percent for the same period.

In 2011, preliminary BIFMA data showed the largest product category was seating, accounting for about 30 percent of production. Systems were next (about 26 percent), followed by files (13 percent), casegoods (12 percent), and tables (10 percent). From 2010 to 2011 the casegoods, files and table categories grew in importance.

Top ten office/contract manufacturers 

Steelcase Inc. recorded a sales increase for its fiscal year 2011 to $2.44 billion, and returns to number one on the FDM 300 list after a big drop in sales in fiscal 2010. The company announced closure of several Michigan, Texas and Ontario plants in early 2011.

Revenue growth was reported to be broad-based and include a higher mix of project revenue from some of the company’s largest customers. For its fiscal year 2012, which ended in March 2012, Steelcase reported $2.75 billion in revenue.

Herman Miller Inc.’s annual sales rose in 2011 to $1.649 billion. The company sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 were just under $400 million, a decrease of 3.6 percent from the third quarter a year earlier.

HNI Corp. We reported 2011 sales of $1.55 billion, based on the third quarter office furniture segment sales. (The final net sales number for this segment was $1.528 billion.) HNI bought Sagus International, a manufacturer of educational and institutional furniture, in November 2011.
For the most recent quarter ending March 31, HNI reported sales of $378.6 million for the office furniture segment, a 14.3 percent gain over the same quarter a year earlier.

Haworth Inc. In February the company reported global sales of $1.38 billion, an increase of 15 percent over 2010. Growth was boosted by stronger sales in every part of the world, according to the company. Haworth acquired Legacy Furniture Group in the healthcare market in 2011. In April 2012, Haworth announced the sale of Groupe Lacasse, a Quebec contract furniture manufacturer.

Knoll Inc. In 2011 Knoll’s sales were up sharply in the third quarter of their 2011 fiscal year. Our estimate of $930 million was based on sales from the first three quarters. Final reported sales for 2011 reached $922.2 million.
In Knoll’s 2012 first quarter, sales fell 11 percent from the first quarter of 2011 to $196.7 million, due in part to lower levels of government spending and reduced purchases from a single financial company. Outside of these two areas, commercial sales grew year over year.

Global Group operates many U.S. and Canadian office and contract locations but our financial information is incomplete.

KI emphasizes business, government, education and healthcare markets. The company earlier closed a plant in Los Angeles. For 2011 sales were reportedly $615 million.

Teknion provided a general update for 2011. The sales number of $500 million is our estimate. In March, Teknion announced the formation of Teknion Studio Group, LLC in Clayton, N.C., to develop and manufacture collaborative furniture products.

Kimball International Inc. reported that sales for the Furniture Segment increased for its 2011 fiscal year, from $413.6 million to $481.2 million. In the third quarter results announced in May, net sales for the furniture segment increased 7 percent to $123.4 million.

OFS Brands Inc. provided sales and other information directly. An annual sales figure of $240 million was provided by the company.

Office/contract group 

To look at things a different way, we selected a group of 20 large and medium-size companies in the FDM 300 for which we had sales numbers or what we felt were good estimates over the past five years. For this group, 13 of 20 companies had sales gains in 2011. This group had a sales increase of 9 percent in 2011.

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.)

Overall, sales for the FDM 300 group of companies, including the 300 largest cabinet, furniture and millwork producers, amounted to $36.167 billion for the year 2011, a decrease of 2.25 percent from 2010 sales of $37 billion.

A complete list of the 2011 FDM 300 companies was in the February issue of CabinetMakerFDM, and the list and more detailed information on each company is on

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About the author
Karl Forth

Karl D. Forth is online editor for CCI Media. He also writes news and feature stories in FDMC Magazine, in addition to newsletters and custom publishing projects. He is also involved in event organization, and compiles the annual FDM 300 list of industry leaders. He can be reached at [email protected].