2012 – 2013 outlook for the U.S. office furniture industry
An updated outlook has the office furniture industry now finishing 2012 down slightly and returning to growth in 2013.
The outlook from the Grand Rapids-based Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA), prepared by IHS Global Insight and 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.
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.
Industry-wide, 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.
Locally, brokerage analysts expect Steelcase 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 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.
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.