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March furniture orders up 9% versus 2013


March orders buoyed year-to-date sales figures, according to Smith Leonard’s May Furniture Insights newsletter.

Orders for the month were up 9% versus 2013 figures and up 13% compared to February, which brought the year-to-date orders 3% ahead of figures from a year ago. Prior to March, orders were relatively flat, according to Ken Smith, managing partner of the accounting and consulting firm.

Shipments for March grew by double digits, up 10% when compared to 2013, and up 21% over February’s figures. This rise in shipments also boosted the year-to-date increase to 4%, compared to 1% a month ago.

Smith said while the overall pulse of the industry is positive, a case-by-case breakdown reveals a divergence.

“We would note that in both orders and shipments, there are wide variances in the reporting from participants,” Smith wrote. “Some are reporting nice double-digit increases, while others are reporting, in some cases, double-digit declines.”

Backlogs remained strong — up 14% versus March 2013 and up 2% compared to February.

As unemployment fell nationally to 6.3%, coupled with a positive outlook coming out of the April High Point Market, Smith said there’s cause to believe the industry is benefiting from a tailwind.

“After what appeared to be a very positive April High Point Market, for the most part, we are hearing that business has remained pretty good,” Smith wrote. “Let’s hope the late spring and summer months continue to improve. We really do not see any reason for anything but positive results for the rest of 2014, barring any unforeseen national or international occurrence.”

Source: Furniture Today

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