Shipments were also down slightly for the second consecutive month, off 3% from March 2012, according to the firm's survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors. Shipments for the quarter were up 1%
Ken Smith, managing director of Smith Leonard, said in his monthly Furniture Insights newsletter that about two thirds of the survey participants reported order gains for the year to date.
"While business through March was none too exciting, business seemed to improve somewhat in April and May with what appeared to be a really good High Point Market for most. Most of our recent conversations, while not too exciting, seem to indicate that there is more optimism out there," he said.
He cited positive trends, including rising consumer confidence, a continuing housing recovery and stock market gains.
"Hopefully Memorial Day sales were good and summer sales continue," Smith said. "It appears that spring has also finally arrived in most parts of the country. Let's hope June brings in summertime and good business for all."