Like-for-like foodservice equipment sales at Middleby Group tumbled 4% during the first quarter, but the company insisted it has an “active pipeline” of new product opportunities that will ensure it quickly bounces back.
The US-based giant’s Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group, which houses all its catering equipment brands, saw global Q1 sales reach $312m (£241m) during the three months to 1 April 2017.
The figure actually represented a 12% increase on the previous year, however it included the contribution of Follett, the ice machine business it acquired last year.
Without the addition of Follett, sales fell 4.1%, or 2.6% when also excluding foreign exchange.
Selim Bassoul, chairman and CEO of Middleby, acknowledged the decline but was adamant it was only a short-term blip and that buying patterns were partly to blame.
“At the Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group, sales slowed in comparison to the prior year due to timing of purchases from our major restaurant chain customers,” he said.
“Although we expect continued slower sales in the short term, we have an active pipeline of new product opportunities with our existing customers and have added several new restaurant chain customers recently. We remain confident those opportunities will translate into sales growth as we progress into the second half of the year. Additionally, we continue to realise increasing interest in our new product innovations, which benefit our sales mix and related profitability.”
Overall sales at the company reached $530m (£410m) during the first quarter, a 3% rise on the previous year but a 3% decrease with acquisitions and foreign exchange removed from the equation.