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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.

US Office Furniture industry improved prospects

Monday 30 May 2011

An updated outlook for BIFMA (the Business and Institutional Manufacturer’s Association) forecasts continued solid sales growth in 2011. The updated outlook now forecasts a 17.5 percent increase in North American shipments for 2011 to $9.8 billion and a subsequent 9.7 percent growth in shipments in 2012 to $10.7 billion.

The previous quarterly outlook for BIFMA, issued in February, expected a 14.0 percent shipment growth in 2011 and 8.4 percent in 2012. The slight upgrade in the outlook from three months earlier follows the continued improvement of the U.S. economy.

“Overall, things are going pretty well,” BIFMA Executive Director Tom Reardon said. “I think we’re going to see a lot of optimism going into NeoCon.”

Through the first quarter, industry-wide shipments totaled $2.13 billion, a 25.6 percent increase from the same period a year ago, when the industry began growing again following a deep downturn during the recession of 2009.

Upcoming sales and earnings report will provide further insight on the industry’s fortunes, as both Steelcase Inc. and Herman Miller Inc. report results for their most recent quarters during June.

Brokerage analysts expect Grand Rapids-based Steelcase [NYSE: SCS] to report an 8.8 percent increase in quarterly sales to $541.8 million and net income of 5 cents per share.

Herman Miller [Nasdaq: MLHR] should report quarterly sales of $417.9 million, a 30 percent increase from a year earlier, and net income of 26 cents per share, according to consensus estimates report by yahoofinance.com.

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