Haworth Sales Comparable To 99
HOLLAND — Haworth Inc. lost a year’s worth of sales growth in 2001, although the company fared slightly better than the overall industry.
The Holland-based Haworth last week reported global sales of $1.71 billion, down 16.9 percent from the $2.06 billion recorded in 2000, and just ahead of the $1.58 billion of 1999.
Despite the sizeable sales slide of last year, the company was quick to point out that it did not fall quite as far as the overall office furniture industry, which suffered a 17.7 percent sales downturn last year, its worst-ever one-year decrease.
That led the company to conclude that it was able to pick up market share in 2001, even with the downturn.
“We actually ended up better than others in the industry,” Haworth spokeswoman Beth Parenteau said.
But as with its competitors, Haworth had to pull back in 2001. The company was forced to cut numerous jobs, curtail production, cancel or postpone programs, reduce spending and close plants in the wake of the economic recession. Haworth reduced its global workforce at the same rate that sales fell, with about 550 of those jobs coming in West Michigan, Parenteau said.
Despite the recession, Haworth managed to maintain profitability for the year, although the company won’t say how much it earned. The privately held Haworth, though it traditionally announces annual sales figures, does not disclose earnings.
“I’m proud of the way Haworth members stood shoulder-to-shoulder around the world and faced the challenges and opportunities of a difficult year,” President and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Johanneson said. “While we regret we lost valued members as we reduced our staffing level, our members showed their commitment to serve customers and to continuously improve the business.”
Looking ahead, Haworth has hit its sales targets in the early going of 2002, Parenteau said, although she declined to identify sales targets.
The office furniture industry, however, is still in for plenty more pain, with industrywide shipments expected to fall another 13 percent in 2002 with a rebound beginning in the fourth quarter that will lead to a 3.6 percent increase in 2003, according to the latest forecast from the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association.