Independent manufacturers' reps project a 4.5 percent increase in sales for the first quarter of 2015.
Overall sales of foodservice equipment and supplies grew by 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the Manufacturers' Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry's (MAFSI) Business Barometer. This was less than the forecasted amount of 4.9 percent and less than the previous quarter's growth rate of 3.8 percent.
Sales varied depending on region, with a 4.6 percent increase in the West posting, 3.5 percent in the South, 3.4 percent in the Midwest, 2.4 percent in Canada, and a 1.1 percent in the Northeast.
Sales by product group include a 3.5 percent increase in tabletop, 3.5 percent in supplies, 2.9 percent in equipment and 1.2 percent in furnishings.
Looking to the first quarter of 2015, MAFSI members project a 4.5 percent increase in sales. Fueling this optimism, 59 percent of reps report an uptick in quoting, up from 48 percent last year. In addition, 47 percent of reps report an increase in consultant activity in their area.