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From Home Furnishing Business

Furniture Factory Orders Show 1% Increase in October

On the heels of a double-digit spike in September, furniture factory orders in October edged up 1% from the same month in 2015, according to the latest Furniture Insights survey.

The monthly survey, conducted by the High Point, N.C. accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard, also showed that October shipments were 6% below the same period a year ago, while order backlogs were up 1%.

“The results for October were very mixed,” managing partner Ken Smith wrote in the Furniture Insights newsletter. “Less than one-half of the participants reported increased order rates, with several participants reporting double-digit declines in orders.”

September, in fact, is the only month in 2016 where the survey showed a double-digit increase in factory orders. The other monthly totals, compared with the same month in 2015, ranged from a 6% increase in August to a 5% decline in July.

For the first 10 months of 2016, factory orders were 2% ahead of the same period in 2015, the survey said. Shipments were essentially even with the same period in 2015.

Smith said October inventories were 2% below October 2015 and “seem very much in line with current conditions.”

Smith noted that the mixed news on furniture factory orders was partially offset by positive results from the November housing report. Existing homes sales in November shot up 15.4% compared with November 2015, while the median price for a single-family home was 6.8% higher than November 2015.

“Many of the folks we have talked with have said that business seemed to really pick up after the election,” Smith wrote. “Certainly not true for everyone, but there clearly has been some optimism since the election. Not to try to be political (but) most seem to feel that the fact that it is over was as important as who may have won.”

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