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Furniture factory orders up 8% in August

 Factory Table August 2012

HIGH POINT — U.S. residential furniture factory orders were up 8% in August compared with the same month last year, the industry's strongest performance since May, Smith Leonard reported.

Ken Smith, managing director of the accounting and consulting firm, called the strong performance "a bit surprising." He noted in his monthly Furniture Insights newsletter that slightly more than 60% of the respondents to the firm's factory survey reported gains, some in double digits.

"This brought year-to-date orders to a positive 5% increase. Last year, new orders were up 6% year to date over 2010, so overall, we are slowly digging out of the hole we have been in," Smith said. About 65% of the survey recipients have reported order increases for the year, he added.

Factory shipments, which tend to lag orders, were up 6% in August and 8% for the year to date. In 2011, shipments for the first eight months were up 3% from 2010.

Smith added that some key economic indicators continued to move in the industry's favor, with consumer confidence and the housing industry improving. In addition, prices are generally going up and inventories are down, which are two keys to the furniture business, he said.

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