HIGH POINT, N.C. - Residential furniture orders saw slight gains in October, boding well for the industry which saw its 17-month string of year-over-year growth come to a halt in September. The latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors by High Point accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard saw October new orders increase 1 percent over 2014 figures.

Year-to-date orders remain 4 percent ahead of 2014 figures, with slightly more than half of those surveyed reporting increases, according to the latest issue of Furniture Insights, a monthly publication of Smith Leonard.

October shipments were up 7 percent compared to the same period in 2014, and 3 percent higher than reported last month. Year-to-date shipments continue to be 7 percent ahead  for the year-to-date with almost 70 percent of survey participants reporting growth here.

Backlogs were up 2 percent over September and about even with October 2014, said Ken Smith, managing partner. "Last year at this time, October 2014 backlogs were 9 percent higher than October 2013 so backlogs continue to be reasonably strong."

Inventories, which were flat compared to September and 7 percent higher than October 2014, "seem to be in line considering the increase in shipments, but with order rate increases declining, inventories will need to be watched," Smith said.

A positive sign is that sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were up 5.4 percent over November 2014.

"As we have noted before, with confidence pretty good, low inflation, low interest rates, decent housing results, low gas prices, and low mortgage rates, one would think that furniture sales should be good. So with all that, we continue to believe the industry as a whole should continue to show improvement into 2016," he added.



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