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BIFMA updated office furniture industry outlook forecasts solid growth in 2011

Tuesday 1 March 2011

The office furniture industry finished 2010 on a strong note, setting the stage for projected double-digit growth in 2011.

The industry finished the year with an overall 5.8% increase in North America shipments, to $8.30 billion, compared with 2009, according to BIFMA, the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association. The 2010 growth came after shipments for 2009 plunged 29.7% to $7.84bn at the height of the recession, the largest single-year decline ever recorded.

After turning positive in the second quarter, deliveries accelerated throughout 2010 and grew by 18% in the 4th quarter alone.

BIFMA Executive Director Tom Reardon termed the 2010 results as “very healthy,
considering what we expected coming into the year.”

An outlook Global Insight prepares quarterly for BIFMA originally projected a 4% decline in shipments in 2010. Global Insight upgraded the outlook throughout the year as the industry steadily improved with the U.S. economy.

Solid sales growth appears have continued into the first quarter, Reardon said.

Global Insight now expects US shipments to grow 14.0% in 2011, to $9.5 billion, followed by an 8.4% increase in 2012, to $10.3 billion.

Quarterly percentage gains may flatten in the second quarter, as year-to-year comparisons are made with a period when the industry began to rebound in 2010, Reardon said.

“But if you look at the volume trends, you’re going to see that continue to increase at a fairly solid rate,” he said.

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