Karl D. Forth
A tough year for
Nobody’s talking about imports anymore.
After a decade of growth, sales for the FDM 300 group of companies
declined for a second year in a row in 2008. Falling sales in the cabinet and
furniture markets caused a big drop in the overall number.
Annual sales for the group of 300 companies was $50.71 billion in 2008, a decline
of 10. 7 percent from the 2007 figure. That 2007 number was 2 percent smaller than
annual sales of this group in 2006. Also, employment for this group continued to
fall. (The complete listing starts on page 16.)
The FDM 300 includes the largest manufacturers of cabinets, furniture, millwork,
store fixtures and office and contract furniture in North America.
After years of growth, cabinet sales fell again in 2008, and industry declines may
reach 20 percent. Furniture sales continued in a rut, while office/contract sales held
up, at least through the first three quarters.
Sales for the
FDM 300 group of
fell 10. 7 percent
Closings and challenges
Even though we hope to see an economic turnaround later this year, sales
data for 2009 is likely to be down for this group. Strong office furniture sales are
expected to decline by as much as 12 percent in 2009, and weak retail sales will put a
damper on store fixture activity.
Also, much of our data from larger publicly held companies is for their fiscal
year, which may have ended in June or September, before the bottom fell out of
the economy. Next year’s data will reflect the difficult months we have just passed
A few notes: Kohler Co. closed the Canac Kitchens Toronto plant and then shut
down the whole Canac cabinet business. Norwalk Furniture Corp. has shut down,
and a new company, Norwalk Custom Order Furniture LLC, has been organized.
Morigeau-Lepine is out of business. Sklar-Peppler is not listed. They’ve closed their
main operation in Canada. Walker Wood Products was acquired and is now Luxe
Cabinetry. American Furniture Mfg. Inc. is rebuilding after a major fire in Feb.
Importer Schandig Furniture was recently acquired by China’s Markor Interna-
tional Furniture. Jami Inc. was acquired by JSJ Corp. This is listed as JSJ Corp./Izzy
Design. MII was acquired by Huck Group, which is listed for the first time. Nichols &
Stone Co. was closed and its assets bought by Stickley. Douglas Furniture of Califor-
nia LLC has filed Chapter 11.
What was the greatest challenge this year? As Bruce Springsteen once sang in a
working class ballad, things were bad “on account of the economy.”
We’ll look more closely at the challenges and the industry sectors in follow-up
reports in the magazine and on www.fdmonline.com.