HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Residential furniture manufacturers and distributors reported that orders are continuing to slow in Smith Leonard’s latest survey for April 2019.
The results of Smith Leonard’s survey backed up what they have continued to hear about business being slower.
New orders in April were down 9 percent from April 2018 as only 36 percent of the participants reported increased orders in April. Since the April 2019 High Point Market was one week earlier in 2019 versus 2018, Smith Leonard does not believe the timing of market had much to do with April results.
Year to date, new orders were 3 percent lower than the same period a year ago, down from flat reported for the first quarter. Year to date, new orders were down for 64 percent of the participants.
Smith Leonard reported that shipments were down 2 percent from April 2018, down for 55 percent of participants. Year to date, shipments were up 2 percent, but only 48 percent reported increased year to date shipments. Backlogs remained even with March as dollar amounts of orders and shipments were about the same.
Receivable levels were 3 percent higher than April 2018. That is somewhat in line with year to date shipments even though not in line with the month to month comparison.
Inventories were 8 percent higher in April 2019 versus 2018, up from 6 percent reported last month. While only 55 percent of the participants reported increased inventories, several large participants reported significant increases over last year. But inventories were only up 1 percent over March so the poor results of April orders made the increase in inventories over last year seem even worse, Smith Leonard reported.
Factory and warehouse employee and payroll levels seem to be in line with the number of employees down 1 percent from March and 2 percent from last year. It appears adjustments are being made at least with the number of employees.
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