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A business consultancy, based in London, England, John Sacks' JSA Consultancy Services provides expert, in-depth, information advice and guidance as to how to exploit successfully the office furniture and interiors markets in Europe, North America, Australasia and Japan.

Quarterly office furniture index shows improvement

Thursday 29 July 2010

A quarterly activity index shows improvement in nearly every category, as the office furniture industry begins moving into recovery mode.

The index by Michael A. Dunlap & Associates in Holland Michigan registered a 54.93 for July, the best showing since October 2007. It also compares with a 51.51 in April and 50.64 in January.

Individual indexes for gross shipments, order backlog, employment, hours worked, capital expenditures and tooling all improved from three months earlier.

“I think that there are enough strong indicators from both the July and April surveys that demonstrate that the worst is behind us and that we are finally seeing some solid signs of recovery,” Michael Dunlap said. “We may not see sales levels of more than $12.0 billion for a long time, but I think we will see this industry come out of this recession with some solid growth by the first quarter of 2011.”

Dunlap’s index is based on surveys with executives at office furniture makers and their suppliers.

The most recent outlook from the Grand Rapids-based Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer\'s Association projects industrywide shipments to decline 5.1 percent for 2010 to $7.45 billion, with business improving in the latter half of the year.

BIFMA projects a strong 11.1 percent rebound in North American shipments in 2011 to $8.27 billion. An updated quarterly outlook from BIFMA is due soon.

Among companies reporting quarterly results this month, East Greenville, Penn.-based Knoll Inc. posted sales of $192.3 million, a 4.9 percent decline from the same period a year earlier but up 9.7 percent sequentially from the first quarter.

Office furniture sales at Iowa-based HNI Corp. grew 7.8 percent over a year earlier to $342.7 million for the second quarter.

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