Optimistic independent manufacturers' reps project a 4.3 percent increase for the second quarter.
Foodservice equipment and supplies sales grew 3.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014, according to the quarterly Business Barometer released by the Manufacturers' Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry. This represents a 1.5 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2013.
Looking at first quarter sales performance on a regional basis, the Northeast reported a 0.6 percent decline in sales, while the Midwest increased 2.5 percent, the South 3 percent, the West 8.2 percent and Canada 4.8 percent.
Looking at the sales by product category, tabletop increased 1.5 percent, supplies were up 2.5 percent, furnishings 3.5 percent and equipment 3.6 percent.
Due in large part to weather-related issues, the Northeast was among the hardest hit regions where tabletop sales declined .5 percent, equipment sales .8 percent and supplies 3 percent.
Looking ahead to the second quarter, MAFSI members project a 4.3 percent sales increase. In addition, 53 percent of reps report quoting more and 48 percent report an increase in consultant activity.