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Furniture Orders Show Slow But Steady Improvement

Volume 2, Issue 8
April 30th, 2014
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New furniture orders in January were 2% higher than January last year according to the latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors by the Smith Leonard accounting firm.

The January numbers also were up 8% over December (keeping in mind that December is a short month because of its holidays).

This slower growth in January was about what was expected by most survey respondents. “New orders in January 2013 were 7% higher than January 2012, so at least the 2% increase was comparing to a decent growth month in 2013,” Smith Leonard said.

Shipments in January were 3% higher than January 2013, but off 4% from December. Shipments in January 2013 were 10% higher than January 2012 so, as with orders, the January 2014 comparison was to a good month in 2013, the firm noted.

For January, some 58% of the participants reported increased shipments. Smith Leonard observed, “But, as it has been for some time, the reported increases and decreases on a monthly basis are pretty much all over the map, with some up double digits and others off the same.”

Backlogs were up 15% over January 2013, up from a 14% increase that was reported the previous month and were up 1% over December. Smith Leonard said backlogs have been up double digits since August 2013.

Receivables were up 6% in January over January 2013 compared to a 3% increase in shipments.

Receivables were flat compared with December although shipments were down 4%.

“Hopefully this is just a timing issue as receivables have continued to be in good shape over the last several months,” Smith Leonard said.

Inventories were up 3% over January 2013 and 4% over December. “The 3% increase over last year was the same increase we reported last month,” the firm added. “We continue to believe that, based on current business, inventories are in good shape overall.”

Total factory and warehouse employees rose 5% over January 2013 and were up 1% from December.

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