HIGH POINT, NC - U.S. furniture orders increased 8% in 2011 over 2010, according to the accounting firm Smith Leonard PLLC.
This gain was greatly aided by a 15% new order gain in December. Smith Leonard added that two-thirds of the participants of its monthly survey experienced increased furniture orders in the first 10 monhts of the year.
"Of course, orders do not mean much unless they can be shipped," Smith Leonard noted in its monthly Furniture Insights. For the year, shipments were up 5 percent and backlogs grew nicely so that is good for cash flow."
"Still, 2011 was all in all a pretty good year," Smith Leonard said. "Total orders for the year almost got back to 2008 levels (admittedly price increases had some impact)."
Smith Leonard also quoted the U.S. Census Bureau, that retail sales at furniture and home furnishings stores were up 7.9% in January over last year. "This marked the first time in a long time that sales growth in the category did not come out near the bottom of the 13 categories. Actually, only sales growth at building materials and garden equipment and suppliers dealers (at 10.5 percent) and auto and other motor vehicle dealers (at 8.2 percent) had larger percentage growth rates."
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