ATLANTA & NASHVILLE, Tenn.---The Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry (MAFSI) has released their Fourth Quarter 2014 Commercial Foodservice Business Barometer; a member-sourced report compiling intelligence from the leading sales and marketing agencies in the foodservice equipment industry across the United States and Canada.

Overall sales for Q4/14 compared with Q4/13 grew by 2.9 percent, slower than the previous quarter's report of 3.8 percent, and less than the 4.9 percent level that had been previously forecasted.

Overall sales for North America by Product Group varied from 1.2 percent in Furnishings, 2.9 percent in Equipment, 3.5 percent in Supplies/Smallwares, and 3.5 percent in Tabletop.

There were wide regional variations in overall sales from 4.6 percent in the West, 3.5 percent in the South, 3.4 percent in the Midwest, 2.4 percent in Canada, and a meager 1.1 percent in the Northeast.

On a national level, foodservice equipment sub‐category sales varied from 5.0 percent Storage/Handling, 4.7 percent Primary Cooking, 4.7 percent Refrigeration & Ice Machines, 4.2 percent Warewashing/Sanitation, 2.2 percent Ventilation, 2.0 percent Food Preparation and 0.7 percent Serving.

Within the overall sector of Equipment there were also wide variations by regions, and as follows: 0.8 percent in the Northeast, 1.6 percent in Canada, 3.6 percent in the Midwest, 3.9 percent in the South, and 4.8 percent in the West.

Prospects are healthier for Q1/15 with members forecasting an increase of 4.5 percent in overall sales. Their increased optimism is supported by an uptick in Q4/14 with 59 percent of respondents reporting increased “Quoting Activity” versus 48 percent in Q3/14 last quarter, and respondents reporting “Busier Foodservice Design Consultants” was up 47 percent versus 39 percent last quarter.

The hospitality industry is a prime beneficiary of the recently falling energy prices. With a significant increase in disposable income and consumer confidence, more dollars are spent in the consumption of meals consumed away from home. To that end, vacation travel increases, hotel occupancy rates rise, and entertainment budgets expand.

Other positives include rising employment, a strong US dollar, and falling commodity prices. The S&P and DJIA are at all-time highs, and the NASDAQ is poised to follow suit.

All of the above positive data proved a solid foundation at the recent bi-annual industry gathering, the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) Show in Anaheim, California. The show boasted a healthy 20,000 foodservice professionals on the trade show floor during the February 19-21 exhibition.

The MAFSI Foodservice Equipment Business Barometer is a member-only benefit compiled solely by the members of MAFSI. The above numbers have been released publicly for the first and only time by the governing bodies of MAFSI. To obtain all past and future Commercial Foodservice Business Barometers, and the 2015 MAFSI Commercial Foodservice Market Forecast, interested parties must join MAFSI. To become a member, please call 404-214-9474, email info@mafsi.org, or visit www.mafsi.org.

About MAFSI

The Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry (MAFSI) is a 65 year-old, professional trade association comprised of 270+ independent sales and marketing agencies and 270+ manufacturers of commercial foodservice equipment, supplies, tabletop and furnishings. Representing over 2,400 sales and marketing professionals and manufacturing executives across North America, MAFSI provides market forecasting, networking and partnership opportunities, industry stewardship, education and resources, and member advocacy for the $10 billion commercial foodservice equipment, supply, tabletop and furniture industry.

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