November orders rise by 10%
New furniture orders in November 2013 were up 10% compared to Nov. 2012 figures according to accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard's monthly industry survey.
Ken Smith, managing partner of the firm, said some of the increase could be attributed to a later High Point Market, but numbers posted in October and November were up 7.5% compared to 2012 figures.
Year-to-date, new orders were up 6% versus the first 11 months of 2012 and some 80% of the participants in the survey showed increased orders for 2013.
"Overall, the results, considering Market dates, were pretty much in line with our expectations through November. We expect December results to continue to be positive but we are concerned with street talk about the beginning of 2014," Smith said. "Many of the people we have talked with indicate in some people's words, ‘somebody cut the faucet off in January.' While that thought is not across the board, we have heard it from enough folks that it causes concern."
The largest single monthly increase was July, when orders were up 13% from a year earlier.
Shipments in November 2013 were 10% higher than November 2012 and were up 7% over October results. This followed a 9% increase reported last month. Shipments were up for some 69% of the participants, up from 61% reported last month.
Year-to-date, shipments remained 5% ahead of 2012 through the eleven months. Approximately 68% of the participants reported increased shipments year-to-date, the same percentage that were reported last month.
The GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013 while the Consumer Confidence Index stands at 80.7 in January (1985=100), up from 77.5 in December.
Smith said early reports indicate that orders slowed at the beginning of 2014, but he still expects the year to maintain recent momentum.
"Overall, we continue to believe that 2014, barring unforeseen major events, should be a decent year for the industry as we fight the way back to levels of the mid 2000s," Smith said. "With all the deflation we have had, it could be we might be about there with pieces. Let's hope the somewhat slow start we have heard about in January does not carry over into the rest of the year."