HIGH POINT, NC - According to consulting firm Smith Leonard, U.S. furniture orders in March were down 1% from March 2012's numbers. Even though orders were up 4% from what they were in February, most of those sales came from small orders that didn't make much of a dent.

Shipments also fell 3% in March, though for the overall first quarter of 2013 shipments were up 1%.

Despite the percentage drops, Kenneth Smith of Smith Leonard sees a silver lining.

"While business through March was none too exciting, business seemed to improve somewhat in April and May with what appeared to be a really good High Point Market for most," he said.

"If you think about it, there is a good reason for optimism. Consumer confidence in May reached the highest level in 5 years. We continue to believe that is the most important factor in furniture sales.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.