Distributors Continue to Gain
Product diversification spurs continued growth
By Bill Drennan, Maggie DeWitt and Danielle Litka
DIstributors are experiencing another strong year as total sales for the Top 100 Distributors has reached $1.92 billion, compared to $1.76 billion last yearan increase of nine percent. The reason appears to be product diversification as form sales for the Top 100 declined slightly to $780 million, a five percent drop from last year's $822 million.
Form sales accounted for only 40.6 percent of total sales this year, down from 46.8 percent a year ago. Label sales increased by five percent to $177 million this year. However labels as a percentage of total sales decreased from 9.6 percent last year to 9.1 percent for 2000.
Last year's Top 100 Distributors reported that 43.6 percent of their sales were from all other productsincluding commercial printing, promotional products, direct mail, electronic forms and other non-forms items. This year all other products accounted for 50.3 percent of total sales. These categories include commercial printing at $414 million or 21.5 percent of total sales, promotional products at $175 million or 9.1 percent of total sales and direct mail at $89 million or 4.7 percent of total sales.
This year's Top 100 Distributors reported 6,987 employees, an increase of 15 percent over last year's 5,958 employees. The number of distributor locations grew by five percent to 1,297 offices. Both of these increases can be attributed to acquisition activity and an increased number of franchises reported by both American Business Forms and ProForma.
Productivity, as measured by sales per employee decreased to $275,172 from last year's $294,737. Sales per location increased slightly from $1.4 million last year to $1.5 million in 2000. Looking at the numbers another way, it took an additional 1,029 people to generate additional sales of $160 million for the Top 100 Distributors or about $155,000 in increased sales per additional employee.