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MAFSI Business Barometer Indicates Slower Growth in Q3

Q4 forecast calls for moderate growth at 3.6%

While sales of foodservice equipment and supplies continue to track positively, growth seems to be moderating, according to the 2011 Business Barometer released by the Manufacturers' Agents for the Food Equipment Industry (MAFSI). Overall sales for the third quarter of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010 grew by 4.4 percent, slower than the previous quarter's report of 5.7 percent and less than the 4.8 percent level that had been forecasted, according to MAFSI. Nevertheless, this marked the fourth consecutive quarterly increase after three years of contraction.

On a regional basis, sales increases varied from 5.6 percent in the Midwest, 4.9 percent in the West, 4.7 percent in the Northeast, 3.4 percent in the South and 2.6 percent in Canada. This is the first time that Canada has ranked behind all areas of the United States.

By product categories, overall sales growth ranged from 5 percent in equipment, to 3.3 percent in furnishings, 3.1 percent in supplies and 2.7 percent in tabletop.

MAFSI reps predict slower growth of 3.6 percent in the fourth quarter.

Of growing concern is the reported shrinking of backlogs as well as a slowing down of consultant activity. Only 45.2 percent report that they are quoting more as opposed to 69.4 percent just six months ago. Furthermore 26.8 percent of reps report less consultant activity versus just 8.3 percent six months ago.

See the full report here.