HIGH POINT, N.C. - Residential furniture orders fell slightly in February, down 1 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, this was the first time since 2014 that new orders dropped from the previous year, and the second time since March 2013.

Year-to-date orders were flat compared to 2015, although about 46 percent did report increases in orders compared to the 32 percent last month.

February shipments were up 3 percent compared to the same period in 2015, bringing year-to-date shipments up 1 percent. Backlogs  were  down  3  percent  from  February 2015 and just  slightly under January 2016 figures said said Ken Smith, managing partner. 

"While   neither   of   these   results   were   what  everyone  was  looking  for,  they  did  seem to reflect much of what we have been hearing  in  that  the  first  quarter  seemed  a  bit soft. But, we need to keep in mind that through  February  2015,  orders  were  up  year-to-date 7 percent and shipments were up 11 percent so we were comparing to some  pretty  healthy  increases  in  the  prior  year," Smith said.

Inventories were up 5 percent  compared to last year, but down from the 6 percent reported  last  month. "While  a  bit  high,  they  do  not  seem  
too far out of line," Smith said.

"We continue to  hear  business is choppy but we still believe, considering comparisons to a good  year last  year, we should  continue to grow this  year,  though maybe at a bit lesser  pace than the  last couple of years," he added.

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