Modest Office Furniture Industry Growth Expected in 2004
Jan 28, 2004
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The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA) International, a not-for-profit trade association of furniture manufacturers and suppliers, recently released the latest U.S. office furniture industry forecast prepared by the economic consulting organization, Global Insight. Following 3 consecutive years of decline, the industry is expected to post positive shipment gains in calendar year 2004. The latest forecast for 2004 predicts 5.6-perecent growth in shipments to a level of U.S. $8.95 billion.

The office furniture industry is still struggling to pull out of an extended period of decline, finishing out 2003 (fourth quarter) with shipments virtually flat as compared to the fourth quarter of 2002. For calendar year 2003 (on an annualized basis), the industry declined an estimated 4.7 percent to $8.47 billion.

The latest forecast calls for one more quarter of flat sales before seeing some modest increases during the second quarter of 2004. While many of the traditional drivers of office furniture consumption are already showing signs of improvement, Global Insight expects that it will take some time to translate into increased orders and shipments of office furniture.

This latest projection is slightly more optimistic as compared to the previous forecast, largely due to an improving office construction outlook and brighter prospects for corporate profitability.

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