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David Perry

ISPA forecasts 2.7% sales gain in ‘13, more later

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The latest forecast from the International Sleep Products Assn. envisions modest mattress growth this year, but sees stronger growth in the next two years.
     ISPA's October U.S. Market Forecast, issued by the group's Statistics Committee, is forecasting a 2% gain in mattress units this year and 2.7% growth in the wholesale value of mattress shipments.
     Both of those forecast figures are higher than the industry's performance through August of this year, with units up 1.5% and dollars up 2%. Those figures are a snapshot of the performance of bedding producers that account for a majority of bedding shipments.
     For 2014, ISPA is forecasting a 2% mattress unit gain and a 3.5% jump in the value of mattress shipments. For 2015, ISPA is forecasting a 4% jump in mattress units and a healthy 6% dollar gain.
     ISPA said its forecast panel sees the quantity and value of mattress shipments growing modestly this year, "constrained in part due to the effects of sequestration and public sector contraction on consumption and employment, especially in the second half of the year."
     It said the 2013 value of mattress shipments is forecast to surpass the industry's 2007 levels, the high point for shipment value, but noted that the units shipped in 2015 will remain below the 2007 unit levels.
     In his "Another Perspective" assessment, distributed with the ISPA forecast, statistics committee member and industry analyst Jerry Epperson said he sees better days ahead for the home furnishings industry.
     "Given the encouraging news about the economy and assuming some resolution of the gridlock in Washington," he writes, "2014 ought to be a rewarding year to sell home furnishings. Auto sales, consumer electronics and appliances and some other sectors have enjoyed handsome gains in 2010-2012, filling some deferred demand for their products."
     Epperson said the ISPA forecasts for 2014 and 2015 are "reasonable" and "very conservative."
     He added: "Again, except for Washington, D.C., and the ongoing distress in our government, most indicators are positive for a couple of much better years. Let's hope nothing messes it up."

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