The latest industry news and analysis—across all categories—listed in chronological order, with the most recent articles first.

London Fabric, the annual upholstery and soft furnishings fabrics event held in London early spring, has signed two more exhibitors to its 2019 edition.

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Britain imported more from both Vietnam and China
Imports of timber living, dining and bedroom cabinet furniture advanced for the first time since March as retailers and distributors stocked up at the beginning of the fourth quarter, new figures show.

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The Cotswold Company's Norwich showroom
Clicks-to-bricks furniture retailer The Cotswold Company says its business model of buying direct from factories leaves it better placed to weather cost inflation. It follows bumper sales growth but squeezed margins in 2017–18.

Welsh cabinet furniture manufacturer completed partial management buyout in 2017.

The Conran Shop will open its first stores in South Korea after agreeing a partnership with Lotte Department Store, a major retailer operating across the Korean Peninsula and Far East.

Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Peng, the prominent Malaysian businessman who has chaired furniture-to-fashion retailer Laura Ashley since 1999, is retiring from the role and the company's board.

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Wesley Barrell changed hands in 2014
The Birmingham showroom of premium upholstery maker and retailer Wesley Barrell has closed a little over a year after it opened, while others in its network are to shut and reopen in nearby units.

Motion beds and upholstery maker Furmanac has appointed Philip George as national sales manager. Sales director Stuart Page is to leave at the end of the year for personal reasons.

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Mattress imports are still rising
British retailers and distributors imported more foreign-made foam and sprung mattresses at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but the rate slowed compared with the year so far.

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House of Fraser will be challenging to turn around, new owner Sports Direct says
Department store chain House of Fraser booked early trading losses under its new owner as sales were impacted by the temporary inability to trade online.

Home furnishings giant names second location for its new urban planning studio format.

The diversified group behind adjustable beds and chair maker Ashley Anderson posted lower profits despite rising sales in the year to February 28, 2018.

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In 2018, Chinese upholstery imports have been in decline. Until now
Retailers upped stocks of foreign-made upholstery at the beginning of the peak trading quarter with a first rise in sofa shipments from China in the entire year so far.

Big-ticket categories were absent from John Lewis & Partners list of weekly best-sellers with the retailer citing seasonal Christmas categories including Gift Food as home overall had another sticky week.

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Carpet imports were ahead in October
Woven and tufted carpet imports into the UK were ahead of the year-to-date trend in October as emerging suppliers outperformed historically important source nations such as Belgium.

Southampton based Millbrook has become the latest bed maker to sign to exhibit at the January Furniture Show, which takes place next month at the NEC.

Wholesale giant Headlam Group says it is "engaging fully" with the Competition and Markets Authority after the watchdog said it was investigating the company's already-completed takeovers of three South East floorcoverings distributors.

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65 underperforming stores were closed during the half
Carpetright, Britain's biggest carpets and flooring retailer, booked a £12 million net loss for the six months to October 27 during which it closed stores and deleveraged.

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Paula Nickolds cuts the ribbon at Harrison Spinks' new Innovation Centre
John Lewis & Partners managing director Paula Nickolds was guest of honour as bed manufacturer Harrison Spinks officially opened its new £2.5 million Innovation Centre at its Leeds headquarters last Friday.

Profits at Burnley bed manufacturer Sweet Dreams advanced as wider gross margin helped counter the impact of lower turnover in the year to March 31, 2018.

Furniture distributor La-Z-Boy UK will add occasional furniture and dining sets as it diversifies its product offer further at next month's January Furniture Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

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Sterling Furniture's flagship Tillicoultry headquarters
Sterling Furniture Group maintained its upwards sales trajectory in 2017–18 with management saying the climb reflected a first full year's inclusion of the Glasgow retailer it bought two years ago.

New facility for Hong Kong listed Man Wah.

Leekes says kitchens, bathrooms and conservatories have been winning categories for the home department store retailer in the first half of its 2018–19 financial year.

Flooring retailer Tapi Carpets has signed a concession partnership with Homebase that will see it open instore units across the home improvement chain's estate.

Retail footfall declined in November with all three types of destination — high streets, retail parks and shopping centres — seeing fewer people than they did in the same month last year.

Sofa.com's headline numbers for 2017–18 are less than impressive but there are mitigating factors and reasons to believe its new owner is not watering a dead plant.

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Sofa.com's Edinburgh showroom
Upholstery vertical Sofa.com booked a consolidated net loss of £38.4 million in the period leading up its change of ownership this summer, largely the result of management writing down the carrying value of its assets.

Steinhoff International Holdings says the outcome of PwC's forensic investigation into historic accounting irregularities will not be ready as soon as hoped, forcing it to delay releasing audited 2017 and 2018 accounts until spring next year.

Multi-million pound property deal preceded Beales lease assignment.

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Ian Oscroft and Whitemeadow colleagues celebrate their award win
Sofa maker Whitemeadow has been awarded the ‘Excellence in Manufacturing’ award at the 10th annual Chad Business Awards, organised by local newspaper the Mansfield & Ashfield Chad.

Industry charity The Furniture Makers’ Company has launched a Christmas fundraising campaign and is asking for the entire furnishing industry to sponsor a School Design Prize.

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Eve Sleep updates on plans for £15m of fresh investment
Eve Sleep has extended its cash runway in the past month and revealed it has received commitments from investors for about two-thirds of the hoped-for £15 million in fresh equity investment.

General merchandise giant Argos is scoping out the launch of an interest-free credit offer as it considers new ways of using finance to drive sales of higher-ticket furniture goods.

Heritage brand Nathan has moved all furniture production and finishing to the Indonesian factory that has been manufacturing its entire Shades collection since 2011.

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New non-executives join DFS board
Upholstery market leader DFS has appointed Travelodge CFO Jo Boydell and 20-year retail veteran Steve Johnson to its board as independent non-executive directors.

Two furniture businesses have taken the last available space at Anchor Brook, an industrial park at Walsall in the West Midlands.

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Recticel supplies foam used as comfort fillings by mattress and upholstery manufacturers
The UK arm of foam giant Recticel slipped to a loss last year after squeezed margins combined with millions of pounds of customer claim costs because of a supply chain issue.

Sales growth disappeared for John Lewis & Partners in the week after Black Friday as the impact of launching offers earlier left it unable to match prior-year trade. Home was the worst-performing category.

Ecommerce giant Wayfair is planning to build a larger UK distribution centre in the East Midlands as it looks to keep pace with the rapid growth of its British operation.

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Silentnight's new Healthy Growth mattress line
Silentnight, Britain's largest bed maker, has introduced a new kids-oriented mattress line after commissioning research it describes as the "first major UK study to characterise children's sleep habits."

Travis Perkins may sell its Wickes DIY, kitchens and bathrooms chain as part of a plan to focus on trade customers and simplify its business.

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Exhibitors known for supplying the retail sector also serve contract customers. Image: Whitemeadow
The January Furniture Show will — for the first time — feature a Contract Trail as organisers look to make it easier for specifiers to pinpoint the exhibitors with both the capability and interest in supplying them.

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Cookes Furniture's Erdington, Birmingham store
Longstanding Midlands and Dorset furniture retailer Cookes says investments made over the past three years have impacted near-term profits but helped it to diversify and broaden its appeal for the next generation.

James Pike on the future for Cookes and other multi-generational independent retailers.

Pure CF has been restructured via a prepack administration process in a transaction that saves the jobs of all of the contract furniture maker's employees.

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Online sales helped boost November figures
Like-for-like retail sales dipped in November according to the British Retail Consortium with more spend transferring online as Black Friday promotions become "increasingly digital."

FIRA International, the furniture test house and industry services provider, has revealed its new brand identity as it continues its integration with its new owner.

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Natuzzi is adding new retail space while rationalising its concessions
Italian sofa maker Natuzzi has chosen Cardiff for its first Natuzzi Editions showroom in Europe. It will open alongside a number of new Natuzzi Italia branded stores across the UK within the next few weeks.

Premium kitchen makers Smallbone of Devizes and Mark Wilkinson Furniture have been sold to a high net worth American investor in a prepack deal that secures the near-term future of both heritage brands.

Contract furniture maker Godfrey Syrett has told employees that it could close one of its sites in the North East in order to secure the business' near to mid-term future.

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Despite confidence falling in November, consumers are as likely to splash out on beds and other big-ticket items as they were this time last year
Big ticket spend intention among UK shoppers worsened in November according to a closely-followed consumer confidence survey, but is unchanged year-on-year.

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House of Fraser's Kendals store at Deansgate, Manchester
House of Fraser says its Kendals store in Manchester — slated to close because it couldn't agree new terms with the landlord — will now not shut after it belatedly struck an accord with the building owner.

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Chesterfield based Designer Contracts is celebrating its 25th year in business
Floorcoverings supplier Designer Contracts has featured in The Business Reporter’s ‘Best of British Business’ campaign, which highlights nationwide success stories across all industries.

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Beales, based at Bournemouth, now has 23 stores nationwide
Beales, the department store chain recently bought by its chief executive Tony Brown, has completed a buyout of two-store East of England retailer Palmers, a deal that had been in the pipeline since the summer.

Accountancy regulator delivers disciplinary formal complaint against KPMG and one of its partners alleging misconduct for work prior to Silentnight's sale in 2011. The complaint is "wholly without merit" according to KPMG.

North West upholstery fabrics supplier Fryett's said it sees 'significant opportunities' for exports as overseas sales comparatives outperformed its much larger UK revenue base in 2017–18.

Wayfair, the American ecommerce giant fast becoming one of the UK's largest furniture retailers, has raised $500 million (£391m) from bond investors through the issue of convertible notes.

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Lighting from Calex Holland
Dutch LED lighting specialist Calex Holland, one of Europe's key suppliers in the category, has joined the roster of brands to exhibit at Light, the new dedicated event at January Furniture Show 2019.

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Peter Green's store at Chandler's Ford, Hampshire
Hampshire based Peter Green, one of the country's largest independent single-store furniture retailers, posted skinnier profits as sales declined in the year to March 31, 2018.