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From Home Furnishing Business

Furniture Insights: June Orders up 5 Percent

June furniture orders rose 5 percent compared to the same month last year, according to the latest Furniture Insights report.

High Point accounting firm Smith Leonard conducts the monthly survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors.

While up from June a year ago, new orders fell 8 percent from May, fairly typical coming into the summer and holidays.
Year-to-date, new orders were 5 percent ahead of the first half of 2013. 

June shipments rose 4 percent in from June 2013 and were up slightly from May. Year-to-date shipments were up 6 percent over the prior year, the same as reported for 2014's first 5 months. 

Backlogs fell 6 percent in June 2014 from May as shipments exceeded orders for the month. They remain 10 percent higher than June 2013, but that increase was down from 13 percent reported last month.
Receivables rose 5 percent from June 2013, levels, and 1 percent over May levels.

"Both of these increases seem very much in line with shipments levels for the month, as well as year-to-date," Smith Leonard Managing Partner Ken Smith said in the report. "The last couple of months have seemed out of line, but we had hoped there were some timing issues. This report seems to indicate that receivables are back in line." 
Inventory levels were 9 percent higher than in June 2013; and up 1 percent from May.

"The 9 percent increase seems a bit high with orders up 5 percent and shipments up 6 percent, but the June results may be timing due to preparation for the July 4 shutdown," Smith said. "We will continue to monitor."
Factory and warehouse employment rose 6 percent from June 2013, and even with May levels. Factory and warehouse payrolls were up 2 percent over June 2013 and up 3 percent from May, but the year-to-date increase in payrolls was up 5 percent.

In summary, Smith noted fairly wide variations among participants with a number showing double digit growth.

"We, except for a few, are not seeing as many double digit declines and see a number in the off 5 percent or less year-to-date," he said.

Housing, employment and consumer confidence are trending in the furniture industry's favor overall. That's offset somewhat by a lot of negative news.

"We even had a feel-good story in college football about a player saving his nephew from a pool that turned out to be a lie," Smith said. "We do see that the upholstery business seems better than case goods, but overall we are pleased to see the consistent improvement in orders and shipments, with the other key indicators pretty much in line."

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