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Smith Leonard Furniture Insights report: 'New orders in April 2024 rose by 22% compared to April 2023'

New orders in April 2024 rose by 22% compared to April 2023, maintaining a trend of growth in 10 out of the last 11 months. However, orders remained flat compared to March 2024. Year-to-date through April 2024, new orders increased by 8% over 2023.

Photo: Dreamstime

Shipments in April 2024 increased by 2% year-over-year but decreased by 1% compared to March 2024. Year-to-date shipments through April 2024 decreased by 9% compared to the previous year.

Backlogs in April 2024 decreased by 12% compared to April 2023 but increased by 2% from March 2024. Receivables were consistent with March 2024 but decreased by 3% compared to April 2023, aligning closely with shipment trends.

Inventory and employee levels remained stable compared to recent months but decreased from 2023 levels, reflecting adjusted operations.

Consumer confidence
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® decreased slightly in June to 100.4, down from 101.3 in May. The Present Situation Index rose to 141.5, while the Expectations Index declined to 73.0, remaining below the recession threshold for the fifth consecutive month.

Existing-home sales declined by 0.7% in May, with median prices reaching record highs. Single-family home sales decreased to 3.71 million, with a median price increase to $424,500. Existing condominium and co-op sales were unchanged from April, with a median price of $371,300.

Sales of new single‐family houses in May 2024 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 619,000, down 11.3% from April and 16.5% from May 2023.

Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 1.4% in Q1 2024, reflecting growth in consumer spending and residential fixed investment. Furniture and home furnishings store sales were down 0.1% from April 2024 and 6.8% from May 2023.

Economic indicators showed minimal change in April/May 2024, with the furniture industry resilient amid challenges from consumer confidence, housing trends, interest rates, and inflation. Expectations of interest rate cuts and easing container rates offer potential for improvement in the second half of the year.

More information:
Smith Leonard

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