Furniture Makers See 04 Growth

July 18, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA) International’s recently released office furniture industry forecast, prepared by the economic consulting organization Global Insight, calls for an 8.5 percent annual decline in shipments to $8.14 billion.

This projection is consistent with the previous forecast from April 2003.

Global Insight remains confident, however, that economic growth will accelerate during the second half of 2003. This will encourage businesses to look ahead to better conditions, with both consumer and business confidence increasing. Still, the prospects for office furniture sales are mixed. A cautious corporate investment outlook and weak office construction will continue to restrain office furniture demand this year, while a recovery in employment and corporate profits will help stabilize demand and contribute to an acceleration in shipments during 2004. The pace of anticipated recovery this year will remain modest, BIFMA said.

On a year-over-year basis, the industry is expected to see an improvement in shipments during the first quarter of 2004. The outlook for business investment will continue to improve during the year, contributing to a potential double-digit increase in 2004 shipments to a level of $9.2 billion.           

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