HIGH POINT ― U.S. furniture factory orders were up 2% in March from the same month a year earlier, ending a six-month string of double-digit gains, Smith Leonard reported.
|"But we would note that the March 2011 orders were 11% higher than March 2010, so we were comparing to a pretty good month last year," said Ken Smith, managing director of the accounting and consulting firm, which conducts a monthly factory survey.|
|For the year to date, orders were up 8% through March, the firm said. Some 69% of participants in the survey reported increased orders for the first quarter.|
Shipments, which tend to lag orders, were up 7% in March and up 11% for the year to date, according to Smith Leonard.
Writing in his monthly Furniture Insights newsletter, Smith said many producers he talked to at the spring High Point Market "reported some softness in orders in late March and going into April." Most said business still seems inconsistent, with a period of good orders followed by a slump.
"The good news is that most companies have adjusted to these conditions," he said. "They also have adjusted staffing and spending levels to current business levels and with just a little bump in business, can make some money."
From furniture today, USA