ASID firms reported positive growth in revenue in April as shown by the ASID Interior Design Billings Index score of 57.1. ASID Index panel members reported increased billings for the fourth consecutive month. The index dipped slightly from the high in March of 62.5 but remained well above 2011 levels. The Inquiry Index for April fell to 56.5, compared to 65.8 in March, perhaps signaling a slowdown in the coming months.
Despite the month over month decline, interior design continued to perform relatively well compared to other areas of the economy. Other indicators, such as employment and retail sales, also reported weaker numbers in April. The AIA Billings Index for the month dropped into negative territory at 48.4.
Dip Felt Across the Industry
Firms of all sizes saw a decline in billings month over month, but posted a positive billings index of 50 or above in all categories. Sole practitioners and smaller firms continued to report the biggest gains.
Similarly, business conditions slipped in all regions of the country month over month but remained positive in most. Firms in the Midwest and Northeast regions reported the biggest decline, with the Northeast dropping into negative territory.
Gains and Losses Vary by Sector
Multihousing was the surprise performer in April, jumping from an index of 38.6 in March to 54.4. Healthcare, hospitality and retail also reported substantial gains. Education stayed flat while office and government fell by several points. Entertainment continued a slide that began in February.
Vendor Issues Remain a Concern
Panelists in this month’s survey were asked which issues were most affecting their business at this time. Problems with product delivery and vendor reliability topped the list, followed by rising fuel costs (which peaked in April). On a positive note, more two-thirds said they were not having problems obtaining needed credit, and more than three-fourths said they had no issues recruiting and retaining talented staff.