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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.

BIFMA outlook for 2012 swings negative

Monday 3 December 2012

The outlook from the Grand Rapids-based Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association adjusted quarterly based on economic conditions and reported sales volumes, projects a small 0.9 percent decline in North America shipments to $9.3 billion for 2012. BIFMA forecasts shipments to grow 3.4 percent to $9.6 billion in 2013, a year when many economists predict slow growth early in the year. University of Michigan economists, for instance, predict Real GDP growth early in the year of 2.2 percent, then growing to 3.1 percent by the fourth quarter of 2013, for an average of 2.4 percent for the full year. U-M projects Real GDP growth of 1.6 percent for 2012. The new BIFMA 2012 outlook represents a slight downgrade from three months ago, as the U.S economy eased during the fall. However, the industry forecast for 2013 has improved. BIFMA in September forecast 1.1 percent growth in 2012 and 2.9 percent in 2013. Locally, brokerage analysts expect Steelcase Inc. to report relatively flat sales of $722.1 for the just-completed third quarter of the 2013 fiscal year, an increase of just 0.4 percent from a year earlier. Analysts expect Steelcase’s sales to grow by 2.7 percent for current the December-to-February period. Steelcase releases quarterly sales and earnings on Dec. 20. Analysts expect Herman Miller Inc. to report sales of $467.3 million for the second quarter of FY 2013 when it reports results Dec. 19. That represents a 4.9-percent increase from a year earlier. Analysts expect Herman Miller to record strong 11.1-percent sales growth for the subsequent quarter. Recent reports from other industry players included solid sales gains for HNI Corp. and Kimball Inc., while Koll Inc. reported lower sales.
The East Greenville, Pa.-based Knoll, which has facilities in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, reported sales of $219.8 million for the third quarter, down 8.2 percent from a year earlier. The company expects “to be back on a path of growth as we end 2012,” CEO Andrew Cogan stated in an October quarterly earnings release.
Iowa-based HNI’s office furniture segment recorded a 10.9-percent increase in quarterly to $467.8 million, and Jasper, Ind.-based Kimball has quarterly sales of $288.1 million, up 6 percent from the third quarter of 2011.
Industrywide, North American shipments totalled $2.40 billion in the third quarter, a decline of 4 percent. Year-to-date, shipments declined 2.2 percent to $6.86 billion, according to BIFMA.

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