HIGH POINT, N.C. - Residential furniture orders fell for the third straight month with April numbers down 3 percent compared to the year prior, according to the latest Furniture Insights survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors from Smith Leonard.

According to the High Point, North Carolina-based consulting group, 69 percent of the participants reported lower orders. And year-to-date orders fell to the negative, falling 1 percent from the first four months of last year. (Last year at this time, new orders were up 5 percent.)

April shipments were also down 3 percent compared to the same period in 2015, sending year-to-date shipments to under 1 percent. Backlogs were down 1 percent from March due to larger shipments and were down 7 percent year-to-date.

"Our latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors continued to show slower business conditions for this part of the industry through April  2016," said Ken Smith, Smith Leonard.

Inventory levels were up 4 percent over last year down from a 5 percent increase reported last month. "We will need to continue to watch inventories as we continue along this slowdown in business," Smith added.

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