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July 2023 US furniture insights report from Smith Leonard
[Aug 8, 2023]

New Orders
According to our latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors, new orders in May 2023 were up 15% over May 2022. New orders were up for some 64% of the participants. From some questions we asked, it seems that some large dealers placed some large orders to be shipped over a period of time, so this may cause some reduction in the June numbers.

Year to date, orders were still down some 13% from the same period a year ago. Orders year to date were down for approximately 78% of the participants.

Shipments and Backlogs
Shipments fell once again in May, off 18% from May 2022. Shipments were down for 71% of the participants. Year to date, shipments were down 15% from the same period last year. Some 63% of the participants reported a decline in shipments year to date versus last year.

Backlogs were down slightly in May as shipment dollars were slightly more than the dollar amount of new orders. Backlogs were down some 61% from last year, similar to the 64% decline reported last month.

Receivables and Inventories
Receivables increased 2% in May over April as shipments were also up over April. The difference is probably some timing issues. From May of 2022, receivables were down 30% with shipments only off 18%. Again, we believe that is likely a timing issue.

Inventories were down 23% from last year and down 5% from April. The 23% decline from last year compared to a 12% decline reported last month. From what we are hearing, and considering price increases, it appears that inventory levels at the manufacturers and distributors are at least somewhat in line with current business conditions.

Factory and Warehouse Employees and Payroll
The number of factory and warehouse employees was down 9% from last May, similar to that reported last month, the number of employees did fall 1% from April. Payrolls were down 13% from last May and 8% year to date. Once again, it appears that the declines in payrolls and numbers of employees is being handled through attrition.

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