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

Major chemicals supplier Dow is investing in new machinery at its research and development facility in Switzerland which it says will put it at the forefront of comfort innovation for the bedding industry.

Expanding floorcoverings retailer continued its store rollout programme, opening a second showroom in the Midlands last weekend.

wesleyBarrellOK 2018
Wesley Barrell has been beset by problems for some time.
Heritage furniture brand Wesley Barrell faces a new existential threat after the newco that bought the business in a prepack administration in February told employees it too was closing.

Roche Bobois, the high-end furniture vertical whose products are sold in 54 markets worldwide, grew profits as sales advanced in all regions bar one in 2018.

Natuzzi, the Italian upholstery manufacturer and retailer, has delayed the release of fourth quarter and full year 2018 results, which were originally due last Friday (Mar. 29).

Dienne Salotti, a southern Italian sofa maker established at the turn of the century, is to enter the UK for the first time.

madeComDCStanfordleHope's new Essex facility.
Furniture retailer Design has taken a 165,000sqft distribution centre at Stanford-le-Hope, Essex to meet its growing capacity needs as its builds out its UK sales base.

MattressOnline is one of the UK's longest established ecommerce businesses. Inset: Steve Adams (left) and Steve Kelly collect the NBF Retailer of the Year award in 2016.
Steve Kelly, co-founder of MattressOnline, is retiring to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests. Co-founder Steve Adams is now sole shareholder after completing a management buyout.

Headlam, Europe's largest flooring distributor, has been given the green light to integrate two companies it bought last year into the group by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Cousins trades from three large flagship stores.
Cost control and wider gross margin helped Cousins Furniture Stores, one of the country's largest independent furniture retailers, counter the impact of weaker demand in 2017–18.

Kerrys Home Furnishings, the home department store retailer which shares common ownership with bed specialist Mattressman, is to close.

Overall confidence remained unchanged.
Save not spend remains the message from British consumers polled for GfK's monthly Consumer Confidence Index in March with fewer people believing now is the right time to splash out on high value items.

Casper Sleep, the U.S. headquartered mattress and ancillary sleep products business which additionally launched in the UK in 2016, has raised $100 million in a new equity funding round.

Vacuum-packed mattress maker Breasley has invested £300,000 in new CNC foam cutting machinery that it says will allow it to produce faster and in greater quantities.

Whitemeadow, the Sutton-in-Ashfield upholstered furniture maker, is reopening its independent showroom from April 29–May 1 to coincide with spring Long Point.

Hypnos said revenue grew in line with its business plan.
Higher cost-of-sales weighed on Hypnos profits in 2017–18 with the Princes Risborough bed maker outperforming the wider market after sales grew in both its principal business units.

Seconique, one of the UK's largest furniture importers and wholesalers, took its two-year investment to approaching eight figures after another large capex outlay in 2017–18.

Boss of UK/Europe of past three years moves on for emerging mattress business. and Littlewoods owner Shop Direct says it will change its corporate name to The Very Group to bring its name and identity in line with its flagship consumer brand.

Ashley Wilde, the circa £31 million turnover Hertfordshire fabrics group, has bought Lanarkshire soft furnishings supplier Voyage Decoration out of administration.

Sports Direct International says it is considering a 5 pence per share offer for department store retailer Debenhams. That would value the company at £61.4 million.

2017–18 was a challenging period, the company said.
Devonshire, one of Britain's last major freestanding cabinet furniture makers, recorded lower sales and narrower margins in 2017–18, impacting profits at the company's trading arm.

The new showroom adds to units at Fulham, Harrogate and Bristol (pictured).
Arlo & Jacob will this Easter open a fourth retail showroom as it continues to build out its physical store presence in selected affluent locations.

A new list of the UK's highest rated retail workplaces in the eyes of employees has given a ringing endorsement to the furniture sector, with around half of those named operating in the category.

John Lewis & Partners posted lower sales across all three major product groupings last week, including a third straight decline in home merchandise revenue.

Carpet price inflation narrowed in February.
Easing input cost pressures helped furniture and flooring price inflation at the factory gate narrow in February, according to new Office for National Statistics data.

Sports Direct owns nearly 30 percent of Debenhams but fears it will lose out from the chain's current refinancing proposals.
Major Debenhams shareholder Sports Direct International says it is considering an all-cash bid for the embattled department store chain fearing refinancing proposals will wipe out current owners' interests and benefit lenders only.

Privately-owned decorative lighting distributor Searchlight Electric capitalised on overseas growth in 2017–18 as the traditional retail sector in the UK bore the brunt of low consumer confidence and the effect of ecommerce.

Fenwick, the privately-owed heritage department store retailer, has appointed Sian Westerman to its board as a non-executive director.

Independent retailers face the loss of an important competitive advantage over multiples.
Britain's elite independent furniture retailers hold many advantages that traders in other products sectors do not, partly explaining why so many of them have endured through the generations.

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West Elm opened on Tottenham Court Road, London in 2015.
Urban furniture specialist West Elm believes it can grow its business nearly three-fold worldwide in the next five years, vowing to "get even more aggressive," and widen its customer appeal.

The company voluntary arrangement (CVA) enabling bedding and soft furnishings chain Yorkshire Linen Company to downsize its store estate will impact certain creditors only, its supervisor has said.

Retailer Bensons for Beds is moving to new Accrington headquarters in order to accommodate a number of new hires, according to regional newspaper The Lancashire Telegraph.

Upholstery was the weakest category in February.
Retailers suffered weaker sales in February with all four of the main categories — upholstery, cabinets, beds and carpets — seeing year-over-year declines.

Flacks Group, the investment firm that last month said it was considering bidding for Laura Ashley, now says it will not press ahead with a takeover attempt.

Phil Reynolds has been appointed to the newly-created post of chief operating officer at the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA).

Yorkshire Linen trades from 27 stores in the North of England.
Bedding and household textiles retail chain The Yorkshire Linen Company is to downsize its "unsustainable" UK store portfolio after agreeing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with creditors.

Both the volume and value of mattress and bed base sales by British and Irish manufacturers declined last year with business optimism also falling, according to new data from The National Bed Federation (NBF).

Sales declined again for Willis & Gambier ahead of the decision by its Far East owner Samson Holding to draw a line under its UK furniture wholesale operation earlier this year.

Likewise Group will complete its biggest deal yet with the takeover of Heatseam, a £21 million turnover distributor of residential floorcoverings throughout England and Scotland.

The impact of Sino-U.S trade tensions occupied Hong Kong listed Samson Holding last year as the furniture manufacturing and wholesale conglomerate sought to counter the impact of the imposition of tariffs.

Next wants to build a bigger furniture business.
Retail giant Next says it is taking the view that 'if you cannot beat them, join them' amid a process that will see its ecommerce business list more brands, including those operated by competitors as well as more furniture names.

Consumer price inflation for furniture items advanced to its highest level since the spring of 2018 last month according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Upholstery market leader DFS will this weekend open its westernmost store yet as it expands its presence in Ireland.

flatPackFurnitureFW DP
Brits filled up their warehouses with more Far East stock.
Shipments of Chinese and Malaysian furniture rose sharply in January with year-on-year imports of living, dining and bedroom cabinet into Britain climbing for the first time since October.

Sales fell at the 296-store home improvement chain.
Weaker demand blunted sales of big-ticket showroom goods such as kitchens at B&Q in 2018–19 with revenue also diminished by its decision to discontinue its installation service.

New ranges launched at exhibitions in Europe will continue to benefit from the Unregistered Community Design in the 27 remaining EU member states, but will no longer have the equivalent protection in the UK.
Unless an agreement with the EU is reached to the contrary, after Brexit any design which was first marketed in the UK will no longer be protected by the EU-wide design right, writes Simon Clark, partner at law firm Bristows LLP.

wrenKitch Corp
Wren opened more showrooms through 2018 and has continued to expand this year.
Sales and profits continued to climb at Wren Kitchens as the privately-owned cabinet maker and retailer took total investment beyond £200 million last year.

Mattress imports inched ahead in the first month of 2019 as the three largest sources of foreign-made goods for the UK market countered weaker figures from other countries.

The front windows have been opened up to provide more natural light.
Furniture retailer Loaf — which trades online and from seven stores — has refurbished its first showroom to bring it in line with the "look, feel and aesthetic" of more recently-opened units.

Home sales fell for the second straight week at John Lewis & Partners despite new furniture — including its recently launched collection in partnership with retailer Swoon — providing a tailwind.

Cashflow was perhaps the biggest of several success stories in ScS half-year results, which were released this morning.

ScS sales fell including the now-closed House of Fraser concessions, but advanced without.
Interim numbers from ScS Group underscore how serious the retailer was about acquiring, with Britain's number two upholstery chain having spent a sizeable six-figure sum on the process.

Italian sofa imports were up by 10% in January.
Double-digit gains on upholstery shipped and trucked in from China and Italy boosted sofa imports in January, countering weaker figures from Poland.

The new year began as the last one ended for Belgium's carpet manufacturers as imports from the country into Britain fell for the seventh month in a row.

Whitemeadow quality manager Andy Pinder (right) with Phil Reynolds, chief operating officer of The Furniture Industry Research Association.
Whitemeadow, one of Britain's largest upholstered furniture manufacturers, has become the latest industry company to be awarded membership of The Furniture Industry Research Association's Compliance Scheme.

Suppliers of a Dewsbury headboard maker whose goods are sold via platforms such as Amazon face a shortfall of nearly half a million pounds after the company was placed into liquidation.

Ecommerce group Buy It Direct has acquired the IP, stock and certain assets of BetterBathrooms, the circa £60 million turnover retailer that entered administration earlier this month.

Markus Jooste, the former chief executive of Steinhoff International Holdings, is yet to speak with PwC, which has been investigating alleged accounting irregularities that were first noted on the day he resigned back in late 2017.

PwC has delivered its report into accounting irregularities to Steinhoff.
A small group of unspecified former Steinhoff International Holdings executives conspired to inflate profits or asset values over a nine-year period between 2009–2017, according to a report by PwC.