HIGH POINT, N.C. - Residential furniture orders rose 11% in November compared to the year prior, according to the latest Furniture Insights survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors from Smith Leonard. New orders were up for approximately 59% of the surveyed participants, down from 76% that reported increased orders the previous month.
November's increase in new orders followed the 8% rise recorded in October. Year-to-date, new orders continue to be 5% over last year, with shipments also up 5% for the time period. "We had wondered if the October results were stronger due to the dates of the High Point Market, but it appears the strength in new orders continued through November," noted noted Ken Smith, managing partner at Smith Leonard.
November shipments rose 4% compared to the same period in 2016, with 65% of the participants reporting an increase. Backlogs increased 6% compared to October, and are up slightly, 1% compared to November 2016, Smith Leonard reported.
Receivables were up just 1% compared to last year, despite the 4% increase in shipments. November 2017 inventories were 2% higher compared to 2016, but down 3% from October. However, Smith noted, "Inventories, like receivables, appear to be in good shape considering current business conditions."
National retail reports also continue to show steady growth, according to the report, with December sales at furniture and home furnishings stores up 9.9% over 2016 figures for the month, and up 4.8% for the 2017 year to date.
In summary, Smith said, "The November results of our survey continued to bring favorable news, with orders up nicely and shipments following along. Year to date results continue to show nice steady growth. While not robust, the growth rate is a pretty good pace. While still not good for all participants, those experiencing declines for the most part are at levels that can be dealt with."
He added, "As usual with this time of year, we will see weather affecting results for another month or so. Since December and January have been fairly rough in many areas of the country along with the issues in California, let’s hope February and March are not too harsh so that the steady growth we were seeing through November can continue."
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