HIGH POINT, N.C. - Residential furniture orders rose 4% in February compared to the year prior, and 1% higher than January orders, according to the latest Furniture Insights survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors from Smith Leonard. New orders were up for two-thirds of the surveyed participants, compared to slightly more than half that reported increases in January.
Year-to-date orders were up 2% compared to 2016. New orders increased year-to-date increased for 58% of the participants.
February shipments were also up, approximately 3% compared to the same period in 2016, and up 1% from January's figures. For the year-to-date, shipments rose 3%, with 61% of the participants reporting gains. Backlogs were fairly stable for the month, and up slightly compared to February 2016 figures, Smith Leonard reported
Receivables were up 5%, slightly higher than the increase noted in shipments reported for the month. Inventory levels fell 3% from February 2016 as well as 3% from January, Smith Leonard reported.
Despite a sluggish start to the year for the U.S. economy, "The reality is that overall things are still pretty good," said Ken Smith, managing partner at Smith Leonard. "Interest rates are still low in spite of a few raises in rates expected. The stock market is good, housing is good and despite a small drop in consumer confidence this month, the indexes are still very strong."
He added, "We continue to expect 2017 to be a good year for the residential furniture business."
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