Sept. Furniture Orders up 10%December 3, 2012
The latest Furniture Insights report shows new orders for furniture rose 10 percent in September compared with the same month last year.
High Point accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard conducts the monthly survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors.
Through 2012's first three quarters, new orders remained up 5 percent over the same period a year ago. Last year at the same point, new orders were up 6 percent over 2010. Smith Leonard Managing Partner Ken Smith said the increase could be a timing issue--while several survey participants reported strong double-digit increases in orders, only 53 percent overall reported increases.
September shipments fell 1 percent from September a year ago.
"Again, we think this was probably also a timing issue" Smith said. "In September 2012, there were only 19 working days compared to 21 a year ago, so that probably impacted the shipping results."
Year-to-date, shipments were up 7 percent, down slightly from the 8 percent reported last month. Through September 2011, shipments were up 3 percent over the same period in 2010.
With orders exceeding shipments for the month, backlogs rose 9 percent over August. Backlogs in September were 13 percent higher than September 2011.
With shipments down 1 percent from September 2011, receivables also fell 1 percent from last September.
"Unfortunately, shipments fell 3 percent from August, yet receivables increased 3 percent from August levels," Smith said. "Since receivable levels have been in line most of the year, we expect that this month's unusual results were a result of timing."
Inventories rose 4 percent from last September, much more in line compared to the 9 percent reported last month.
"Inventories actually fell 5 percent from August," Smith said. "So it appears that inventories are being controlled based on current volume levels."
Factory and warehouse employment rose 4 percent over September 2011 levels; and was up 1 percent over August 2012; results that also appear in line with current conditions.
Factory and warehouse payrolls were flat with September 2011 but up 3 percent over August. Year-to-date, factory and warehouse payrolls are up 6 percent over last year down from a 7 percent increase we reported last month.
"Our latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors had a few unusual results but we believe some of the results were due to timing," Smith said in summary. "New orders were up 10 percent over September a year ago, but only 53 percent of the participants reported increased orders. But those reporting increases had some significant double digit increases."