New orders for residential furniture continued showing extreme growth, rising 239 percent in April 2021 over April 2020. This marks 11 straight months of year-over-year increases, as reported by Smith Leonard in the latest issue of Furniture Insights.
Smith Leonard also opted to look at 2019's data, as the pandemic began to be felt in March 2020 - making it hard to make comparisons.
"As we noted last month, the results of our survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors will be difficult to make much sense of due to the pandemic that began in March of 2020. March, April, and most of May results in 2020 were a mixture of complete and or partial shutdowns, or while some employees were put back on payroll due to the government assistance programs, there was little productive activity at most places."
But even when looking at 2019, orders are up 30 percent.
"Shipments were up 296% in April versus April 2020 and up 39% year to date. Shipments in April 2021 were up 26% over April 2019 and up 18% year to date. Backlogs were up 266% over April 2020 and up 5% from March 2021.
"Backlogs are clearly too high as new orders continue to exceed shipments. While catching up somewhat, it will likely be a while before backlogs get back to more reasonable levels. Supply of materials, especially foam in the upholstery world, as well as labor shortages, are hurting upholstery manufacturers. Supply of finished goods imports have also slowed due to the COVID effects on sourcing countries, either shut down or just significantly behind in production.
"Receivable levels continue to be in good shape for most. Most of what we hear is that up to now, receivable aging’s are very clean. We think compared to the April time period last year, most had begun to receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds and were able to use those to not only pay the employees but also to help with cash flow as businesses began to go back to work.
"Inventory levels also appear in line and if anything, probably could be higher except for shortages of materials as well as serious container flow issues.
See the full report here: https://www.smith-leonard.com/2021/06/29/june-2021-furniture-insights/
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