New furniture sales take hit after hurricanes

December 2017—

New furniture sales for September declined by 10 percent compared to the same month in 2016, according to the latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors by High Point-based accounting firm Smith Leonard PLLC.

The drop was to be expected given the number of hurricanes that struck Texas, Louisiana and Florida, according to Ken Smith, whose Furniture Insights report tracks industry sales. Smith said the hurricanes also affected traffic at the High Point Market in October.

Smith wrote that “the decline may not be as bad as it seems” given that the drop was compared to a 14 percent in new orders from September 2016 over September 2015.

“We would expect to see some pick-up over the next few months as those affected in Texas and Florida and other areas begin to try to recover and rebuild,” Smith wrote.

The September results ended three months of momentum in sales growth. June saw a 6-percent growth followed by an 11-percent spike in July and a more modest 1 percent gain in August.

Smith report is based on a survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors. Year to date, new orders are up 4 percent, with approximately 61 percent of survey participants reporting an increase in new orders. The year-to-date increase of 4 percent compares to a 2 percent increase reported through September 2016.

Furniture shipments in September were 4 percent higher than September 2016. Despite the overall 4 percent increase, shipments were up for only 44 percent of the retailers who participated in the survey.