Reps forecast 5.2 percent growth rate for first quarter of 2012.
Sales of foodservice equipment, supplies and furnishings increased by 4.8 percent during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the latest Business Barometer released by the Manufacturers Agents' Association for the Foodservice Industry.
Sales in the United States increased 5.3 percent, ranging from 6.6 percent in the south and 6 percent in the west, to 4.3 percent in both the Northeast and Midwest, according to the MAFSI data. Sales in Canada increased 2.2 percent.
Looking at sales by product categories, growth ranged from 5.6 percent in supplies, to 5.2 percent in equipment, to 4.5 percent in tabletop and -0.3 percent in furnishings.
MAFSI reps project a first quarter sales gain of 5.2 percent in 2012. For the year, the reps project a 6.6 percent increase in sales, the association's strongest forecast in the 10-year history of the Business Barometer.
Contributing to this optimistic outlook in the rep community is the fact that 54 percent report an increase in quotations while only 21 percent are quoting less.