• Powell Slaughter

Furniture Insights: June orders up 6%

HIGH POINT – New orders for furniture rose 6% in June compared with the same month last year and remained even with May orders, which were up 8% over May 2016.

That’s according to the latest Furniture Insights survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors conducted by accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard.

New orders in June 2017 increased for some 60% of survey participants, up slightly from last month and up considerably from the 47% posting increases in April.

Year-to-date, new orders are 6% ahead of last year and were up year-to-date for almost 68% of participants, compared with approximately 60% in May.

June shipments rose 7% over June 2016 – increasing for almost 83% of survey participants – and up 5% from May 2017.

“This was one of the highest percentages we have reported in quite some time,” noted Smith Leonard Partner Ken Smith in the report.

Shipments this year rose 5% through June, up from 4 percent reported last month. Some 65% of participants reported increased year-to-date shipments.

Backlogs fell 4% from May to June as shipments exceeded new orders; and remained 6% ahead of June 2016. May backlogs were 11% ahead of the previous year.

Receivable levels in June were up 5% from June 2016 levels and were 2% ahead of May 2017.

“These increases appear very much in line considering the 7% increase in shipments in June over June 2016,” Smith said. “They were also very much in line with the 5% increase in year-to-date shipments.”

June inventories rose 3% over June 2016 and exceeded May levels by 1%.

“Based on current business conditions, these increases appear very much in line,” Smith said.

Factory and warehouse payrolls were 4% higher in June versus the same month last year with year-to-date payrolls increasing 2%.

Factory and warehouse employment, though, fell 1% from June 2016, but employment rose1% over May levels. Smith added that payroll and employment comparisons “seem very much in line with current business conditions.”

In summary, Smith said the industry’s doing well despite what “negative media news.”

“After a somewhat sluggish start to the year, following the kick we seemed to get after the election, our survey continues to show nice, solid growth for the industry in the last four months,” Smith said. “Certainly not everyone is participating but in general the results continue to be very positive.”

Powell SlaughterPowell Slaughter | Senior Editor

I'm Powell Slaughter, senior editor at Furniture/Today. I returned to the publication in January 2015 after nine years of writing about furniture retail strategies and best practices at a monthly magazine focusing on home furnishings retail operations. Prior to that, I spent 10 years with F/T covering wood furniture, the last five of those as case goods editor. While I cover occasional, home entertainment and home office here, a major responsibility is expanding our attention to the logistics side of the industry. I hope my articles will encourage a dialogue with retailers, vendors, third-party logistics specialists and carriers. I’d love to hear your ideas, concerns and suggestions for smoother flow of material and goods.

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