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March 9, 2021
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Business Review Western MI
Business Review Western MI
Haworth Growth
(2007-02-14)
(wgvu) - Haworth Inc.'s worldwide sales in 2006 followed the overall office furniture industry in North America, registering solid growth.


The Holland-based Haworth last week reported 2006 global sales of $1.48 billion, a seven percent increase from 2005. The company reported solid growth in every geography, including especially strong, record sales in the Asia Pacific region.


We continued to develop momentum in 2006, President and CEO Franco Bianchi said.


Privately held Haworth entered 2007 with a very strong backlog of orders, he said.


Bianchi attributed a significant amount of sales growth to new product introductions that have sold well across client categories, from small and medium-sized businesses to multinational corporations.


Difficulty during the year came from what Bianchi called unprecedented pressure on materials and transportation costs.
It is a strong reminder of the constant need to improve efficiency and customer focus so that we can continue sustainable growth and profitability, he said.


Haworth's sales growth in 2006 came as the office furniture industry in North America experienced solid gains.
Industrywide shipments grew 7.4 percent in 2006, to $10.81 billion, according to the Grand Rapids-based Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association.


The final shipment tally was just shy of what an industry outlook projected and followed a year in 2005 that saw shipments grow by 12.3 percent to $10.07 billion.


Shipments were fairly consistent throughout 2006, though growth rates did taper off as the year progressed going from 10 percent in the first quarter to 5.6 percent in the fourth quarter, BIFMA Executive Director Tom Reardon reported.


The lower growth rates toward the end of the year may have been the result of year-to-year comparisons that are based on strong sales months experienced in 20005.


An updated industry outlook for 2007 and 2008 is due from BIFMA this week.


The most recent quarterly outlook, issued three months ago, projected 8.7 percent growth in industrywide shipments in 2007, to $11.8 billion.


I think we still expect some reasonably good numbers, Reardon said of the upcoming outlook.


The latest index from Michael A. Dunlap & Associates in West Olive shows the industry remaining on very solid ground.


The quarterly index, based on a survey of executives who were asked to rate their company in 10 key criteria, registered a 57.91. That compares with the 57.99 in the previous index in October and a 56.56 registered a year ago.


Executives responding to the Dunlap survey reported continued strong sales and a growing backlog.


Secondary indicators such as capital expenditures and tooling confirm that the industry is in good shape, Michael Dunlap said.


Raw-material costs remain a concern but showed significant improvement from the prior survey and a year earlier.
The index's personal confidence registered a 66.50, the second highest ever in the three years that Dunlap has conducted the quarterly survey.
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