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Reps Report Foodservice Equipment and Supplies Sales Dip in the Third Quarter

Sales of foodservice equipment and supplies declined 24.4% for the third quarter of 2020, per the Business Barometer published by the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry. While still down significantly, these results are 8% better than reps forecasted at the end of the second quarter of 2020. And MAFSI members report third quarter sales were 6% better than the second quarter.

Reps forecast foodservice equipment and supplies sales will decline 28.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the same time frame in 2019. To put this data in some context, heading into 2020, reps projected a 3% uptick in sales but if this forecast holds, sales will decline 26.3% for the year.

The steepness of the third quarter sales declines varied by product category. Tabletop sales, for example, declined by 51.6% for the quarter. Furniture sales declined 32.2%, supplies 24.1%, and equipment 20.3%. MAFSI attributes the less severe decline of equipment sales to the fact that many projects that were on hold in the second quarter were released for shipment during the third quarter. Due to more operators focusing on serving customers via takeout, curbside delivery and drive-thru, sales of disposables increased 3.5%, per MAFSI.

Looking ahead to the future, only 18% of reps report more consultant activity. In addition, only 25% of reps say they are quoting more than they did in the second quarter and 48% are quoting less.

The sales decline was spread throughout the U.S. Sales declined 27.1% in the West, 26.0% in the Midwest, 23.1% in the South, and 22.4% in the Northeast. Canada reported a 20.7% decline, which was 23 points better than the second quarter of this year.