HIGH POINT, NC - New orders of residential furniture declined 13% in April compared to the same period a year ago, likely influenced by later dates for the Spring High Point Furniture Market, according to Smith Leonard consultants.

In the June issue of its Furniture Insights newsletter, Smith Leonard noted that the high Point Market was just held April 21 to 26 compared to April 2-7 last year. "As we normally see around High Point Market months, the change of Market dates can markedly change results of orders when comparing to the prior year...(M)ost likely very few post Market orders are reflected in the current year results."

In spite of the April drop off, year-to-date new orders remained through April. "We expect that by the time we report year-to-date through May, things will have smoothed out and we will have a better picture."

Smith Leonard reported that furniture shipments "remained very positive with an April over April 2011 increase of 7% and year-to-date increase of 10%."

The accounting firm also noted that according to the U.S. Census Bureau reports, sales at furniture and home furnishings stores increased 8.7% in May compared to May 2011 and up 9.4% year-to-date. Only building materials recorded a higher increase in the U.S. Census Bureau's report of 13 categories, Smith Leonard added.

"Based on our conversations with others in the industry, the furniture industry seems to be moving along about like the economy in genera," Smith Leonard said. "Business is not as good as we would like, but it really doesn't seem too bad either."


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