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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