Sales of foodservice equipment and supplies increased 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry’s Business Barometer. This was 0.8 percent better than the reps forecasted for the reporting period. For the first quarter of 2017, reps project a sales increase of 3.9 percent and 4.4 percent for all of 2017.
Here’s a breakdown of the sales increases by product line for the fourth quarter of 2016: equipment 4.5 percent, furniture 4.3 percent, tabletop 3.9 percent, and supply items 3.3 percent. By region, the gains ranged from 5.4 percent in the West, 4.9 percent in the Northeast, 4.7 percent in the South, 3.9 percent in the Midwest and 2.3 percent in Canada.
Forty eight percent of reps report an increase in quoting activity during the fourth quarter, up 3 percent from the previous reporting period. In contrast, reps report consultant activity slowed by 2 percent compared to the third quarter.
Looking back at 2016, reps reported an average quarterly sales increase of 4.425 percent. Here’s a look at sales increases by quarter: 4.8 percent in the first quarter, 4.9 percent in the second quarter, 3.6 percent in the third quarter and 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter.