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AHFA Restates Furniture Domestic Production Numbers

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The Department of Commerce has released a new business census series on domestic furniture production, and the numbers are decidedly different from the last series released with 2002 shipment data. A monthly series of domestic furniture shipment estimates from the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) has been benchmarked to the 2002 census numbers and updated regularly using the best available information from a sample of domestic furniture manufacturers. However, as a result of the new census data from the Commerce Department, the shipment results from 2002 through 2006 have been restated. “Clearly these numbers are dramatically different, but they better reflect the changes the residential furniture industry has faced this decade, especially the severe downsizing of many furniture manufacturers, the closing of hundreds of furniture factories and the growing movement to sell imported furniture,” states Wallace W. “Jerry” Epperson, managing director at Mann, Armistead & Epperson, Richmond, Va. The new census data shows a domestic wood furniture base of $8.5 billion for 2006, down from the $13.4 billion reported last year using the old series. Domestic upholstery shipments are also lower at $9.9 billion, rather than the $12.2 billion originally reported. Using statistics from the International Trade Administration, residential wood furniture imports grew from $7.6 billion in 2002 to $10.8 billion in 2006, a 42.9 percent increase. In proportion to the new domestic shipment number, imports represented 63 percent of all wood furniture sold in the U.S. in 2006. For upholstered furniture, total imports grew 94.8 percent from 2002 to 2006, to $3.1 billion. Against the restated domestic upholstery shipments, imports represented 28.5 percent of the U.S. market in 2006. AHFA strives to provide the best available information to its membership and the home furnishings industry. While this new statistical series is different from the old series, AHFA believes it is important that it be announced and explained so that the industry can make educated, informed decisions. The American Home Furnishings Alliance – located in High Point, N.C., and Washington, D.C. – is the largest association of home furnishings companies in the world and represents more than 240 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, plus about 200 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide.

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