Premium interior design retailer Occa-Home says it is building for significant growth by rebranding as Houseology and moving to larger premises.

Prominent BFM members were among a host of British furniture brands to show at last month’s iSaloni series in Milan, which included a BFM stand for the first time.

Bedroom furniture producer Wiemann will make its Long Point debut with the firm saying its presence is recognition of its increasing UK brand awareness.

habitatIntExtThe number of Habitat showrooms across the UK will more than double over the next 12 months under plans to escalate expansion of the mid-premium furniture and home brand.

New stores and online lifted John Lewis sales last week though a solid performance from both indoor and outdoor furniture lines helped Home sales to a 4.1 per cent rise.

Bed manufacturers, suppliers and retailers are being urged to enter the 2015 Bed Show Industry Awards, with the NBF launching the process yesterday.

alstonsFactoryAlstons — which is to be sold to management and a Thai carpet business in a deal effectively valuing it at £32m — becomes the latest in a long line of sofa company transactions this year.

johnAlstonAlstons and BFM chairman John Alston will focus full time on the concrete business once the deal to sell the family upholstery company completes in June.

Organisers of the January Furniture Show have partnered buying group SMG to add a floorcoverings showcase to the 2016 edition.

Colin Watson is stepping down as managing director at the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA) to return to consultancy.

ukFurnitureManufacturingPrivately owned Alstons has been sold to a joint venture comprising the existing management team and Thailand Carpet Manufacturing.

ikeaSales climbed sharply in the UK for IKEA in 2013–14 though weaker gross margin and the cost of growing its workforce hit profits.

Sofa manufacturer QFC capitalised on its significant investment expanding capacity as it returned strongly to profit in 2014.

The benefits of buying up rival carpet and flooring companies is paying off according to Victoria PLC, which says FY earnings will beat expectations.

Andy Harrison has been named chairman at home and furniture chain Dunelm, taking over from Geoff Cooper who retires later this summer.

Membership has swelled at industry trade association FIRA since January with the addition of 16 companies spanning established and new firms across the furniture supply chain.

relyonBensonsRelyon sales to third party stockists were broadly flat in 2013–14 with sales to other Steinhoff owned businesses rising by close to half.

Retail chain Magnet grew strongly in the first quarter buoyed by demand for kitchens at the lower end of its consumer price bracket.

Belgium headquartered textiles group Bekaert — supplier to many UK mattress manufacturers — has been sold by one investment group to another.

westwingNowMembers-only home retailer Westwing is launching a dedicated ecommerce furniture and décor store as it looks to take sales past €200m in 2015.

CASA — Italian for Home — is the name for Devon retailer Queenstreet Carpets & Furnishings’ soon-to-open second showroom (see related).

bedworldThe £10m privately owned ecommerce business behind the Bedworld and Saso mattress, beds and furniture websites has ceased trading.

furnitureQueueFurniture retailers ended the first quarter in rude health with strong March sales and an upwards revision for February, according to official data.

Department store retailer John Lewis has rebranded its B2B arm with a renewed focus on selling furniture and furnishings to trade customers.

actonaOwnersDanish furniture retail group Lars Larsen has acquired a majority stake in circa £100m furniture supplier Actona for an undisclosed sum.

lazboyUkRevenue pushed towards £50m at Colne upholstery supplier Furnico through 2013–14 though weaker gross margin meant profits growth was more modest.

bensonForBedsSteinhoff is steering funds towards developing Harveys’ online business after doing similar for its Bensons for Beds chain paid dividends last year.

Department store chain House of Fraser enjoyed profitable growth in the year to end January, buoyed by rising Internet orders.

comfyQuiltsStrong demand took the top line at bedding giant Comfy Quilts past £80m in 2013–14 though the North West supplier’s profits continued to be hit by legacy issues.

Carpetright says full year profits will be ahead of expectations after it traded strongly in the final three months of its financial year.

Furniture and home retailer IKEA wants to raise its multichannel profile by highlighting the different ways in which consumers can buy its merchandise.

somnusYorkshire beds and components group Harrison Spinks posted record group sales and profits in the year to end June.

Industry backed promotional body The Sleep Council is calling on beds retailers to back its new marketing campaign which starts 1st May.

The future of the high street, instore technology and brand power will be among the retail themes of the Conference and Seminar Programme at next month’s May Design Series.

debenhamsOnlineDepartment store chain Debenhams has overhauled and expanded its online furniture microsite to put trends at the heart of the way product is merchandised.

Value retailer JYSK is entering the Singaporean market in partnership with a name synonymous with UK furniture retailing.

ligneRosetFrench furniture brand Ligne Roset’s UK arm moved back into profit after enjoying strong growth in the year to end September.

Furmanac — the West Midlands motion furniture manufacturer behind the Mi-Bed and Mi-Chair brands — maintained its sales momentum in the year to end June.

discounting 1Furniture retail price deflation narrowed in March despite the earlier fall of Easter and its associated bank holiday promotions.

retailParkMarch looks odds-on to continue furniture’s double-digit growth trend as the category top scored in the British Retail Consortium’s monthly retail sales survey.

Thousands of furniture and design professionals trooped through the doors of the Fiera Milano showgrounds at Rho yesterday for day one of the 2015 iSaloni series.

cousinsDudleyFurniture independent Cousins’ product sourcing strategy paid off in 2013–14 as it made the most of a 160 basis point upswing in gross margin.

Two of Britain’s furniture ecommerce specialists are among a list of eight competing for the main prize at the Tech & Ecommerce Awards 2015.

lauraAshleyLaura Ashley said furniture like-for-likes inched up in the year to end January though overall category sales declined as it closed space dedicated to Home products.

Rent-to-own furniture and electricals chain BrightHouse says it wants to double store numbers to 600.

Department store retailer Debenhams has named Terry Duddy — former Argos CEO — as a non-executive director.

parkerKnollMontanaThe group behind the Parker Knoll, G Plan Upholstery and Duresta sofa businesses says it has laid the platform for substantial growth in 2014–15.

UK and Ireland furniture distributor VIDA Living says growing its international business will help it increase investment and reduce product cost.

Andrew Porter is investing £200k as part of a refurbishment programme at its purpose-built furniture warehouse headquarters in the North of England.

achicaSGLifestyle ecommerce retailer Achica has taken investment in the business beyond £30m with a new seven-figure rights issue.

Harrogate retailer Smiths The Rink has become the latest stockist for Spink & Edgar Upholstery, the upmarket sofa business launched by the Harrison Spinks group late last year.

freemansUS furniture chain Crate & Barrel and UK catalogue and online business Freeman Grattan Holdings were key growth drivers for the Otto group in 2014–15.

North West carpet manufacturer Penthouse said new product introductions and POS material were behind a big uplift in performance in 2013–14.

dunelmCoOut-of-town home retailer Dunelm says its will open another four stores and launch its new web platform before the end of June.

Furniture was among the few sectors to enjoy growth in March as retailers in other categories struggled, according to consultancy BDO.

Year-on-year sales fell at John Lewis last week as it struggled with tough comps against the run-up to Mother’s Day 2014 and cooler weather hindering apparel demand.

martinAndFrostHeritage Edinburgh furniture retailer Martin & Frost reopens today following a £1m refurbishment that sees both the store footprint and product offer expanded.

Home categories made sales gains at retail giant Marks & Spencer in the final three months of its 2014–15 financial year.

Industry charity The Furniture Makers’ Company (TFMC) has named Hypnos as the recipient of its Sustainability Award for 2015.

seconiqueUnderlying profits jumped 30 per cent for Seconique as the Midlands furniture wholesale group benefited from the cheaper cost of moving goods from A to B.

Luxury kitchens chain Harvey Jones launches its first ever television advertising campaign today (1st Apr) with targeted spots aimed at specific consumer demographics.

Steve Lamb has joined furniture distributor VIDA Living as key account manager for its UK business.

BandQBritain’s biggest home improvement retailer B&Q is to cut its store portfolio by 60 stores while UK and Ireland CEO Kevin O'Byrne is to leave.

Irish furniture retailers continued to make up lost ground in February as big-ticket lines — including motor cars — topped the sales charts.

Sales fell in low single digits for the UK arm of Canadian office furniture giant Global in 2013–14 as the company arrested a long-running top line decline.

natuzziFactoryUpholstery giant Natuzzi has taken a leaner product line into 2015 as it looks to build on an improving sales picture through last year.

Thousands of shoppers attended the official opening of Barker and Stonehouse’s £4.5m Stockton store this weekend.

GregSuthernFVFurniture Village has hired industry heavyweight Greg Suthern to the newly created post of chief operating officer.

Furniture retail sales growth is accelerating again with a double-digit rise in volumes recorded in February.

Home category sales were positive despite a dip in overall activity and weaker store sales at John Lewis last week.

dfs co 1Sofa group DFS’ return to the stock market will have a transformational impact on its bottom line, the retailer has confirmed.

The January Furniture Show is to back the next generation of furnishing industry leaders by sponsoring the Furniture Makers’ Company’s Young Professionals course.

InflationMar25Furniture retail price inflation has slipped below zero in eight of the past 18 months but February’s fall was the steepest yet.

North Yorkshire retailer Barkers of Northallerton is to create a dedicated contemporary furniture department as part of 20,000sqft extension of its edge-of-town furnishings store.

Furniture distributor Willis & Gambier shrugged off what remained tough market conditions to improve its top and bottom lines last year.

Consumers paid less for their furniture in February but retailers and wholesalers had no such luck, with no change to manufacturing output price inflation.

britishBedStoresBritish Bed Stores — the online bedroom retailer run by the owners of the now defunct Bed Centre UK ecommerce store — has ceased trading.

Marketplace retailer ( has named Tesco executive Simon Belsham as its CEO.

Exhibition organisers say they only have space left in Halls 2 and 3 for next year’s January Furniture Show following strong supplier demand.

cfsStoreCoFurniture retailer CFS — which trades from a number of former Land of Leather stores and lists its ex-CEO among its directors — has been sold as a going concern.

Glasgow independent Forrest Furnishings is to add 10,000sqft in shop floorspace at its South Street showrooms after accepting an offer for its Cathedral Street property.

EchoLuHomebaseMDHome Retail Group has named former Tesco UK board member Echo Lu as managing director for its Homebase retail chain.

nextHomeMaidstoneCommentary: Next is committed to investing even more in its growing Home and furniture operation, though 2014–15 wasn’t without its challenges, including taking a hefty upholstery recall hit.

Management at Whitestone, Westex and Abingdon — the three companies acquired by Victoria PLC in the past 15 months — have increased their stake in in the group.

Profits more than doubled at Corby furniture wholesaler Kettle Interiors in 2013–14 as the firm made the most of higher sales, quicker delivery and lower costs.

JohnLewisCorporateStrong growth returned for John Lewis last week with all bar five of its stores up on last year and online rising by nearly a quarter.

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