Office Furniture Industry down 30% vs 2008 -

Posted by Expert Gadget Reviewer on Monday, 8 February 2010

Full year 2009 results for the furniture industry are starting to trickle in, and boy are they ugly. Knoll announced a Q42009 sales decline of 33.4%, and full year sales of $780 Million, representing a decline of 30.4%. It was reported in industry trade journals that Haworth (which is a privately held company), announced sales of $1.1 Billion, representing a decline of 32%.

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) released their December 2009 market statistics, estimating an overall decline in orders and shipments of 30% (compared against slight decreases in 2008, and slight increases in 2007).

To reset the "hierarchy" of office furniture manufacturers (based on previous 4 quarters revenue):

  1. Steelcase: $2.4 Billion (-30% vs. 2008)
  2. HNI (parent company of Allsteel and HON): $1.56 Billion ( -25% vs. 2008)
  3. Herman Miller: $1.34 Billion (-32% vs. 2008)
  4. Haworth: $1.11 Billion (-32% vs. 2008)
  5. Knoll: $780 Million (-30% vs. 2008)
I predict that HNI will rebound the strongest in 2010. My reason for this prediction is that HNI's largest operating company, HON, serves the small business niche. With the current focus of Washington on small business, HNI is well positioned to take advantage of any government aided small business expansion.

(Full disclosure, my dealership is aligned with Allsteel, also one of the HNI operating companies).