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

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.

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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.

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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.

After market leader DFS updated last week, tomorrow attention turns to ScS, Britain's second largest upholstery retailer, which is due to file half-year numbers to January 26, 2019.

Timing is everything when it comes to examining performance in the seasonally-affected furniture sector.

Sofology FW
DFS plans to turn Sofology into a £300m business.
DFS, Britain's biggest sofa retailer and one of its largest manufacturers, is to leverage its vertical supply chain by producing upholstery for the Sofology chain it bought back in 2017 for the first time.

Beds specialist Dreams added to the National Bed Federation award it won last autumn by last night being named the country's leading Speciality Retailer.

Upholstery and flooring retailer ScS has admitted misleading customers at its Aberdeen store back in the autumn of 2017 after a nationwide Trading Standards investigation.

2017–18 profits declined sharply at Ponsford, one of the UK's largest single-store furniture retailers, after it booked lower revenue on thinner margins.

Profits climbed at DFS in the 22 weeks to December 30, 2018.
Half-year profits advanced at DFS as the sofa market leader made the most of a buildup in sales demand after customers had deferred purchases during the exceptionally hot summer last year.

Upholstery market-leader DFS says it hopes to save £7 million a year in rent as it prepares to enter negotiations with landlords over expiring leases. It also indicated it had revised its Sofology store target.

Maisons du Monde cashflow weakened as it invested in stock.
International furniture and home accents retailer Maisons du Monde, which has substantial eight-figure UK sales, says it can grow another 10 percent this year as it builds out its store estate.

The Closing the Gap conference takes place Friday, April 26, 2019 at Furniture Makers' Hall, London.
A new solution to help the furniture industry close the skills gap is to be presented by The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (Fiesta) next month.

Yorkshire insolvency outfit appointed Kingstown Furniture administrators.
The Kingstown Furniture group, one of the UK's largest remaining volume cabinet makers, has been placed into administration and ceased production. The business is to be wound down.

Privately-owned sofa and chair maker Sherborne Upholstery built cash and saw underlying profits rise in a year where revenue was broadly flat.

The new Warrens Evans website.
Warren Evans, the southeast England beds brand that went under in February last year, is back, this time as an online retailer with no showrooms.

John Lewis & Partners' return to home sales growth was short-lived as it posted a double-digit decline across the broad-brush category in the seven days to March 9.

The switch of financial year-end by Britain's largest upholstery retailer DFS went largely unreported, with even the odd supplier claiming to have little knowledge.

AHF has a new head of ecommerce.
AHF, the furniture retail chain that was last year bought by Airsprung owner Andrew Perloff, has appointed experienced online retail executive Alex Broughton as its new head of ecommerce.

Lorraine Kelly stars in new adverts with her border terrier, Angus.
Ecommerce home furnishings retailer Wayfair has launched its new UK television advertising campaign featuring ITV host and brand ambassador Lorraine Kelly.

All change: (l–r) Eve Sleep chief brand officer Kuba Wieczorek is going part-time; CEO Jas Bagniewski left last year, CFO Abid Ismail is leaving, while COO Felix Lobkowicz has also left.
Chief financial officer Abid Ismail and chief operating officer Felix Lobkowicz are to leave Eve Sleep as the broom sweeping through the direct-to-consumer mattress company delivers more change. The departures were announced alongside 2018 results.

Profits advanced at Julian Bowen, one of Britain's largest furniture importers and wholesalers, after overhead management helped counter the impact of lower revenue.

The eponymous founder of South East beds business Warren Evans, which ceased trading in February last year, will today relaunch the brand as an ecommerce pureplay.

Direct-to-consumer mattress business Eve Sleep says its products will no longer be sold in Dreams stores or online after the two companies agreed to end the partnership.

Footfall dipped across all three principal types of physical retail destination in February though retail parks, home to many comparison goods retailers selling furniture and flooring, saw the shallowest declines.

Optimism among UK furniture makers is scarce despite a welcome reduction in cost pressures, according to new research by trade body BFM, the association for British Furniture Manufacturers.

Eve Sleep shares fell to a new low on Friday.
It is nearly two years since direct-to-consumer mattress and ancillary sleep products company Eve Sleep successfully raised £35 million in an IPO that valued the company at about £140 million.

Kidderminster carpet maker Brintons says planned tariffs will hurt rivals while the private equity firm that bought the business in a secondary buyout has disclosed the sale price for the first time.

European sales boost for one-time owner of 26-store British upholstery retail chain Easy Living Furniture.

Italian sofa maker Natuzzi will expand its collaboration with Studio Marcel Wanders with the launch of a third new collection with the Dutch design icon inside 12 months.

London Fabric took place Mar. 4–5, 2019.
BFM, the lead trade association for British furniture makers, says its two-day London Fabric exhibition covered all bases this week with it getting praise from both exhibitors and visitors.

Mimosa medium sofa, part of the new Orla Kiely upholstered furniture collection being launched at Barker and Stonehouse. Inset: Orla Kiely.
Privately-owned retailer Barker and Stonehouse is launching the first-ever upholstered furniture collection from Orla Kiely after agreeing an exclusive partnership with the renowned print designer.

John Lewis & Partners profits declined in 2018–19
Department store chain John Lewis & Partners will overhaul its furniture offer in the next year after saying its best performing product categories in the past 12 months were those where it had invested the most.

Sports Direct is a major shareholder in Debenhams.
Sports Direct International will try and oust all bar one of Debenhams' directors and install its chief executive Mike Ashley to the department store chain's board under incendiary plans to seize management control.

Designer kitchenware business Joseph Joseph enjoyed double-digit sales growth in 2017–18 after a spike in demand for its trendy products in overseas markets. Though margins narrowed, the company still cleared 14 percent net.

Wayfair customers in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland will no longer have to pay to have furniture delivered after the fast-expanding ecommerce retailer extended its free delivery service to all parts of the UK.

From left: Richard Newman (regional debt financing at HSBC), Mark Jones (partner of Jasmin Advisory LLP, who advised Hammonds), Mark Hammonds (group director at Hammonds), Richard Hammonds (group CEO at Hammonds) and Graham Mold (head of growth capital at Frontier Development Capital)
Hammonds Furniture chairman Richard Hammonds has become group CEO after leading a long-planned management buyout at the £85 million turnover fitted furniture vertical.

Belgian foam conglomerate Recticel grappled weaker demand in the upholstery and bedding sectors in 2018 but its non-furniture related business insulated its bottom line.

Clare Taylor has joined Breasley Group as head of marketing.
East Midlands mattress maker and foam converter Breasley Group has appointed Clare Taylor as head of marketing, saying the creation of the new role was sparked by its fast expansion.

United Carpets Group, the flooring and beds retail chain, says profits could fall more than 60 percent in 2018–19 as it reconciles tough trading conditions with the need to spend more supporting franchisees.

Creditors of kitchen furniture maker Richmond Cabinet Company will take a hefty haircut on outstanding debts unless KPMG can procure a substantial bid for the company or its assets.

Carpet equipment manufacturer Sellers Global Engineers has been placed into administration with insolvency practitioners planning to trade the business with a view to finding a going-concern buyer.

Balta is one of the world's largest carpet companies with the UK a major market.
Belgian carpet maker Balta says it remains committed to the UK market despite suffering a fall in sales here through 2018 and being unable to pass on rising costs amid intense competition.

monoqiUK 2019 is the retailer's dedicated UK ecommerce asset.
Investors have snapped up the assets of Monoqi, the European furniture etailer that operates a dedicated UK sales channel and which bought selected parts of MyDeco four years ago.