Furniture Insights: Furniture Orders Dip in Nov.February 4, 2013
New retailer orders for furniture dipped 1 percent in November 2012 compared with November 2011, according to the latest Furniture Insights survey.
High Point accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard conducts the monthly survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors. November orders were off 4 percent from October. Smith Leonard Managing Partner Ken Smith said that timing of High Point Furniture Market could have played a role in the fall-off in new orders.
"As we noted last month, monthly comparisons around the High Point Market dates are sometimes a bit misleading due to timing of Market and related orders written," he said. "November 2011 orders were up 13 percent over November 2010, but the October 2011 Market ended on Oct. 27, so obviously all Market orders were not written by the end of October and some fell into November. This year, Market was a bit earlier in October so we imagine that has had some impact on the monthly results."
Year-to-date, new orders remained 5 percent ahead of 2011. For the eleven months, orders were up for 67 percent of the participants down slightly from last month.
November shipments rose 3 percent over November 2011, 3 percent over October.
"Last November (2011) shipments were 10 percent higher than November 2010, so we are comparing to a relatively strong month last year," Smith said.
Year-to-date shipments were 6 percent over last year, down slightly from last month's 7 percent increase. Approximately 65 percent of the participants reported increased shipments for the 11 months.
Backlogs dipped from October with the value of shipments slightly exceeding orders.
"Backlogs, in November, were 8 percent higher than November 2011, down from a 15 percent increase reported last month," Smith said. "Again, we think timing of market orders would have impacted these results."
Receivables rose 4 percent over October, in line with the increase in shipments from October to November. Receivable levels were 1 percent lower than November 2011, which appears to be very good considering the 6 percent increase in year-to-date shipments.
Inventory levels dropped 1 percent from October and were 7 percent above November 2011.
"This was down from an 8 percent increase reported last month, and we hope this is a trend to make sure inventory levels do not get out of hand," Smith said.