Office and contract furniture manufacturers had a good year and were a bright spot for the FDM 300 group of companies in 2011. Many of these office and contract producers had higher sales in 2011 than they did in 2010.
Overall, we received positive sales news from more companies than we did in 2010, when only a handful recorded sales gains.

 But the combined sales number for the FDM 300 group of companies declined 2.25 percent in 2011 to $36.167 billion. The 2010 number was adjusted down to $37 billion to make this comparison. We removed retail store sales from Ashley Furniture’s figure and retail sales from several other companies that had been included in past compilations. (Earlier, these company-owned store sales had been excluded from Ethan-Allen, Bassett, Furniture Brands International and several other companies.)

 The FDM 300 is a group of the 300 largest cabinet, furniture, millwork, store fixture, office/contract and component producers in North America. A detailed list of the top 25 follows, along with a list of all 300 companies. See more detailed information on each company by going to cabinetmakerfdm.com and clicking on the FDM 300 tab.

 Our earlier estimate (including these retail sales) for 2010 had been $38.49 billion, which was down 6.4 percent from 2009 combined sales of $41.12 for the companies in the group. The largest sales decline (19 percent) took place when comparing 2009 and 2008 sales.

 While doing the research for this year’s list, we believed that sales would be down a small amount based on reports we received and estimates we made.

 Some privately held firms did not provide a figure or estimate, and we have noted previously that the response to this request is lower in a down year.

 Overall there are 11 new companies in the FDM 300, and 11 companies that were included in 2010 but not in 2011. The most well-known company closure was Berkline, but it is noteworthy that four of the companies closing were in California. A fifth company closed and has since reopened. We will have more coverage of these companies online and in future issues.

 The overall employee number for this group of companies was 270,755 in 2011, a decrease of about 2 percent from 2010. The actual figure here is probably somewhat lower as companies did not wish to share lower employment figures.

 Shifting shares 

 Here’s a summary of the 10 largest companies:

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

 2. Herman Miller Inc. Sales increased in their 2011 fiscal year, which is included here.

 3. HNI Corp. Sales number is based on third quarter sales for the company’s office furniture segment. Sales increased in the third quarter.

 4. MasterBrand Cabinets. Fortune Brands Home & Security LLC was spun off from Fortune Brands and includes the kitchen and bath cabinet, plumbing/accessories and storage/security businesses. Sales figure is based on the third quarter sales for the cabinet segment, higher in 2011.

 5. Masco Corp. Masco is optimistic about long-term fundamentals, but their third quarter cabinet and related products segment had a 14 percent decline in sales. Our estimate here is based on the third quarter sales for the cabinet segment.

 6. Haworth Inc. had a good gain in its fiscal 2011, to $1.21 billion in annual sales. The company does not provide estimates for the next fiscal year, which ends in early 2012.

 7. Andersen Corp. This is an estimate of sales for the Minnesota-based window and door maker.

 8. Ashley Furniture Industries, overall sales reported by the furniture manufacturing, importing and retailing company was $3.48 billion. We subtracted an estimated $2.5 billion in estimated retail sales to reach this figure.

 9. La-Z-Boy Inc. Figure based on higher fiscal 2011 sales of upholstery and casegoods division and does not include retail. A total of 72 percent of sales is upholstery, 13 percent casegoods, and 15 percent retail.

 10. Furniture Brands International. Sales estimate is based on third quarter sales, and does not include sales from the 67 company-owned stores.

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