February furniture orders up 7% over last year

Smith Leonard Furniture Insights report also notes that February shipments were down 5% during the same period

HIGH POINT — New orders for residential furniture were up 7% in February compared to February 2023, indicating that business is starting to pick up for some manufacturers and distributors.

Marking a slight turnaround from the start of the year when new year-over-year orders were down 1%, February orders totaled $2.19 billion, up 7% from the $2.05 billion reported in February 2023.

Smith Leonard’s monthly Furniture Insights report said that the increase resumed a streak of eight out of nine straight months of year-over-year order growth following the January decline. Some two-thirds of survey participants said orders were up in February. In addition, new orders were up 5% from the $2.1 billion reported in January.

The report said that February furniture shipments totaled $2.3 billion, down 5% from the $2.44 billion reported in February 2023 and down for some two-thirds of the survey participants. In contrast, shipments were up 8% from the $2.15 billion reported in January.

Backlogs totaled $2.6 billion, down 24% from the $3.4 billion reported in February 2023 and flat compared to January, the report said.

Other highlights of the report are as follows:

+ Receivable levels were up 1% from January but down 7% from February 2023, which the report said “is materially in line with the decline in shipments for the same period.”

+ Inventory levels were up 1% from January but down 24% from February 2023, the same as the decline in backlog. The report said this again indicates “that most companies have rebalanced their inventory levels to match current operations.”

+ The number of factory and warehouse workers was down 7% from February 2023 and flat with January.

+ Payroll expenses were down 2% from February 2023 but up 5% from January, which the report said was likely because of some reduced production schedules at the start of the year.

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at tom@homenewsnow.com and at 336-508-4616.

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