U.S. furniture factory orders down 10% in September from year earlier
Best performance since May 2008
Jay McIntosh -- Furniture Today, December 1, 2009
About a third of the respondents to the accounting and consulting firm's monthly survey actually reported increases in orders - up from 20% who reported gains in August.
Still, business was down for the majority, and 93% of survey participants report declines for the year to date, Smith Leonard said. Orders through September were down 18% from the comparable period in 2008.
Factory shipments were down 14% in September and down 19% for the year to date.
"The results for September, while still not positive, did show some softening of the decline," Ken Smith, managing partner of Smith Leonard, wrote in his monthly Furniture Insights newsletter. "October 2008 was the month when orders and shipments fell off the charts. That was when the 20%-plus declines were first reported."
He said the October comparison will be interesting, since the High Point Market took place late in the month and some market-related orders may not have been in by the end of the month.
Smith also said he has had "more pleasant conversations" with manufacturers and distributors lately. "Let's hope that September was the start to an upward trend."