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

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Rising shipments from Asia powered the increase.
Living, dining and bedroom cabinet imports to the U.K. have trended up in mid single-digits in the first half of 2019 driven by shipments from the Far East.

The Young Furniture Makers exhibition returns to the City of London this October, offering the industry opportunities to connect with a new generation of designer-makers looking to make an impact on the sector.

rdmBlueBackgroundBY RICHARD DE MELIM


Upholstery giant Natuzzi announced a new business plan is on the way to mitigate the impact of tariffs imposed on China-made goods arriving into the U.S.

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Natuzzi has vast manufacturing operations.
Italian sofa giant Natuzzi says it will sell non-strategic assets and revise its worldwide manufacturing configuration as part of plans to insulate itself from new tariffs.

Revenue and profit growth returned for Westex last year, as the West Yorkshire carpet maker — part of the flooring conglomerate Victoria for nearly six years — delivered a best-in-class performance.

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Weak end to the first half for mattress imports.
Mattress imports into the U.K. are barely above year-earlier levels at the half-year stage, threatening a first full year drop in the category for six years.

Customers spent less on home products at John Lewis & Partners for the third straight week as the chain relied on higher technology spend to deliver growth.

The new chief executive of Steinhoff International Holdings said its €9 billion debt pile is too high as he offered a vision of the future for the embattled conglomerate yesterday.

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Sofa imports have climbed rapidly in the six months to June.
British buyers bought upholstery from overseas like never before in the first half of 2019 with arrivals from China and Poland leading the way.

One of the first direct-to-consumer sofa makers to allow shoppers to design their upholstery using an online configurator has agreed a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors.

Large Norfolk furniture and department store retailer Bakers & Larners relaunched its ecommerce website in a year that saw sales across the diversified group that owns it decline.

June saw the weakest trade data in the year so far for the carpet industry as imports fell 6.3 percent on the same month a year ago. They remain ahead on a six-month basis.

Record temperatures didn't deter more shoppers from visiting retail parks last month despite other types of destination making it the worst July footfall in seven years.

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Sleepeezee is in line to reverse a 2018 top line decline this year.
The CEO of Sleepeezee says sales are tracking well ahead of 2018 as it annualises the announcement of the heritage British bed maker's owner plan to invest heavily in the business.

Eve Sleep says it is in "very early stage discussions" to acquire its rival Simba in a deal that would consolidate the direct-to-consumer mattress market.

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Maisons du Monde wants to launch an online marketplace business as part of wider plans to double online sales.
Maisons du Monde, the French furniture and home décor retailer, is to open up its ecommerce store to third-party suppliers and retail partners through the launch of an online marketplace.

Fast-expanding lighting supplier Astro posted another top line sales record in 2018–19 but cautioned that growth was harder to come by, especially in the U.K.

National general merchandise wholesaler Stax Trade Centres has acquired hardware and ironmongery business M.P. Smith & Co, one of its longstanding suppliers.

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DFS is one of Europe's largest sofa manufacturers as well as retailers.
DFS has declined to snuff out speculation regarding the employment status of Harvey Ellis, arguably the pound-for-pound holder of the seniormost role in U.K. furniture manufacturing.

Sales growth accelerated at Essex sofa maker Alstons Upholstery in 2018, helping operating profits double for the Thai-owned manufacturer.

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The old and new at Hatfields of Colchester.
Heritage furniture independent Hatfields of Colchester will unveil its refurbished store front next month after a major investment at its Peartree Road site.

La-Z-Boy is to consolidate upholstery production in the U.S. leading to the closure of one factory there and the shift of a cut-and-sew operation at another.

Stefaan Vansteenkiste, chief restructuring officer at Debenhams, is to become the retailer's chief executive with Terry Duddy stepping down as executive chairman next month.

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BoConcept Tottenham Court Road.
The company behind Britain's largest chain of BoConcept modern furniture stores built out revenue last year and has secured new multi-million contracts that should see it do so again in 2018–19.

Lower revenue and narrower margins contributed to the heritage retailer behind the Browns of York department store recording a six-figure loss in 2018–19.

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The Lebus Dakota range, which includes Springbond.
The manufacturer behind Springbond, an eco-engineered material used as carpet underlay, has diversified into the upholstery sector after agreeing a supply partnership with Lebus.

One of Europe's largest living, dining and bedroom cabinet furniture makers is to diversify into upholstery, building a new multi-million factory in Poland.

A lack of confidence in the marketplace led to sales below expectations for one of the country's largest hardwood floorcoverings suppliers last year, but it said competitors were also struggling.

Sales fell for the second straight year at East of England beds manufacturer Mansion House Bedding Group in 2018–19 but it hopes to reverse that this year with a strengthened sales team.

New equity funding and a property revaluation helped boost the book value of premium upholstery business The Sofa & Chair Company in 2018, consolidated accounts for its holding company reveal.

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An estimated 1.75 million of over 8 million mattresses disposed of in 2018 escaped landfill.
The bed industry's efforts to reduce the amount of end-of-life mattresses ending up in landfill is paying off with recycling numbers having doubled in the past four years, new research suggests.

John Lewis & Partners posted weaker home sales last week with a second consecutive high single-digit decline across the wide-ranging product directorate.

Privately-owned soft furnishings group Ashley Wilde grew sales and profits last year ahead of the spring 2019 buyout of a Scottish fabrics wholesaler.

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The retailer operates one of the biggest destination furniture stores in Britain.
Gross margin widened and a seven-figure chunk of debt was eliminated in 2017–18 at Andersons of Inverurie, one of the U.K.'s marquee independent furniture retailers.

Distributor and manufacturer Victoria has bolstered its roster of ceramic floorcoverings businesses with the acquisition of Spanish tile company Ibero in a deal worth up to an estimated £14 million.

Other than crown debt, the largest unsecured creditor of a company once known for running a regional chain of furniture shops in London is the new owner of Sofa.com.

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Growth returned in July, but it was weak, according to industry figures from the British Retail Consortium.
Year-on-year retail sales inched forward last month after two straight declines in the months immediately prior, according to industry lobby group the British Retail Consortium.

The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) is urgently appealing to U.K. furniture makers to financially support work needed to renew the level 2 Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship Standard.

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Silentnight is headquartered at Barnoldswick.
Silentnight Group, Britain's largest beds manufacturer and a key bellwether for the sector, posted lower sales and profits in 2018–19. It remained cash generative and cleared the last of its shareholder debt.

Millbrook Healthcare, the largest division in the family-owned group that includes Millbrook Beds, has been sold to a specialist private investment firm. The bed manufacturing unit is unaffected.

The U.S. headquartered group behind the Nectar Sleep brand is launching a new high-end bed-in-a-box brand in the U.K. market which it says can upset the status quo in the premium bedding sector.

Heavy investment in the British market means Wayfair is almost universally known among U.K. consumers, the company's senior-most official said following the release of its second quarter results last week.

Fast-expanding cabinet furniture vertical Wren Kitchens has reached 80 stores nationwide with the opening of a new unit in Exeter.

Sales advanced at major upholstery fabrics supplier Mobus in 2017–18, but profitability was "restrained by pressures on margins and a restructure of the business."

The privately-owned company that owns regional carpets, floorcoverings and beds retailer Wilsons has posted double-digit sales growth for at least the fifth straight year.

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OnlineCarpets.co.uk is one of several websites run by the company.
The company behind the OnlineCarpets.co.uk ecommerce store has publicly-disclosed revenue for the first time in accounts that underscore the flooring category's potential on the Internet.

Adverse currency movements and trading conditions impacted profits at Hertfordshire furniture, home goods and giftware importer Sifcon International last year.

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ScS, Britain's number two upholstery retailer, will expand its Scottish footprint later this year as it takes store numbers to three figures. It also said yesterday that it is trading ahead of year-earlier levels.

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Spaceslide trades from more than half a dozen of its own showrooms.
The Yorkshire group behind the Spaceslide bedroom furniture brand returned to profit at the EBITDA line last year, while entering new sectors helped offset weak retail demand.

The acquisition of a majority stake in a large Vietnamese case goods factory by Samson Holding was the latest indication of the impact on the global furniture trade President Trump has had since he was sworn into office.

London-headquartered upholstery vertical shrugs off tough conditions.

British furniture buyers make the U.K. one of the top five worldwide markets for the international trade of furniture, according to a new forward-looking market report.

Expanding kitchen maker and retailer Wren has gained various globally-known International Standards Organisation (ISO) accreditations for its factories in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

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Sofa.com's Edinburgh store.
The price paid and reason behind Sports Direct International's takeover of upholstery vertical Sofa.com has been disclosed for the first time. Neither will surprise many in the furniture trade.

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Hot weather kept home shoppers away last week.
Home sales fell in high single-digits at John Lewis & Partners last week as the heatwave across the country impacted the department store mutual.

Ryan Ross, former director at Harrods Direct in London, has been named president of the Williams Sonoma brand, succeeding longtime incumbent Janet Hayes.

Furniture retailer AHF strengthened its board with the appointment of two senior executives from sister company Airsprung earlier this spring.

Organisers of the International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) have canned the 2020 edition of the event, saying they will take a break to "rethink, recharge and revitalise" the exhibition.

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Both Freemans and Grattan carry extensive home and furniture lines.
Combined sales at Yorkshire catalogue and ecommerce brands Freemans and Grattan inched forward in 2018–19 with directors saying competition is intense in the U.K. online retail market.

A five-fold increase in exports softened the impact of lower U.K. revenue and higher costs for bedding and soft furnishings maker and distributor Rapport Home last year.