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From Home Furnishing Business

December Factory Orders Drop 9%, But Remain Positive for 2017

Last year ended on a disappointing note for many furniture manufacturers, as December factory orders fell 9% from December 2016, according to the monthly Furniture Insights survey from the Smith Leonard accounting and consulting firm.

It was only the second monthly decline of the year, and followed increases of 8% in October and 11% in November.

December shipments also were down, falling 7% from December 2016, according to the survey.

“While we had heard some talk of business slowing down, this drop was a bit more than we had expected,” Smith Leonard partner Ken Smith wrote in the Furniture Insights newsletter. “One thing that probably affected the significant decline was that December 2016 orders were 11% higher than December 2015, so we were comparing to a very strong month in 2016.”

Despite the December dip, factory orders and shipments for the 2017 calendar year were each up 4% over 2016, the survey said.

“In spite of the slow finish in December, 2017 was what we would say was a decent year,” Smith wrote. “While there were a few participants up low double digits, the participants in general were fairly close together.”

He said 66% of participants reported order increases for the year.

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