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

Retail giant Matalan has expanded its home furnishings offer with a dedicated programme of mattresses, bedframes and bedroom furniture through its Matalan Direct arm.

West Yorkshire contract furniture group Thornton EME posted high top and bottom line growth in the year to end December 2014.

Hypnos has been named AIS Bed Supplier of the Year following a vote of its independent retail membership.

bettaLivingSales growth escalated at furniture chain Betta Living in 2013–14 as it made the most of new stores and concessions in partner retailers.

Year-on-year furniture retail prices were positive for the first time in seven months in August and up 280 basis points on the year to July.

polishUpholsteryPoland again usurped Italy as the prime EU upholstery source for UK importers at the start of the third quarter while Chinese sofa imports also climbed.

Kent furniture and interiors distributor Gallery Direct has added UK made mattresses to its product roster with the acquisition of Wiltshire manufacturer Dreamworks Beds.

Half of B&Q’s planned store downsizing programme — announced in the spring of this year — will be completed by the end of its 2015–16 trading period, owner Kingfisher says.

Retailers including IKEA and John Lewis have been praised by the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) in a new report highlighting the industry’s contribution to furniture re-use.

HeartofEnglandHomeLivingOne of the largest furniture retail divisions in the UK co-operative movement is to close with Heart of England Co-op’s decision to phase out its Home & Living stores.

Off-price furniture and accents retailer HomeSense is part way through a flurry of store openings that will take its national store portfolio to 38 shops.

The high street and shopping centre footfall malaise continued in August though the floors of UK retail parks were trodden in greater numbers than last year.

Softer demand for Belgian merchandise was behind a fall in carpet imports at the start of the third quarter.

Carpets and floorcoverings group Victoria has agreed to buy flooring accessories supplier Interfloor in a deal worth around £65m.

steinhoffUKmdsAnthony Joyce has assumed responsibility for Steinhoff UK Manufacturing following the long planned retirement of managing director Andy Murdoch.

General merchandise retailer Next says its new Home stores are trading way ahead of target and significantly stronger than new floorspace devoted to apparel.

Fast growth in economies including China and Russia helped IKEA global sales reach €32bn in 2014–15.

bensonForBedsBensons for Beds gleaned market share as Steinhoff’s UK retail interests traded ahead in high single digits during the year to end June.

Major furniture independent Stokers group deleveraged as it built sales and profits ahead of its late May acquisition of Aylesbury furniture retailer Lucas.

Dunelm posted rising sales and profits in 2014–15 as it made the most of its existing and new stores and its burgeoning online business.

Weak electricals demand hit sales at Argos in the second quarter while ongoing store closures hampered sister retailer Homebase despite improving like-for-likes.

lauraAshleyRetailer Laura Ashley enjoyed a double-digit spike in like-for-like furniture sales in the six months to 1st August though total revenue was impacted by net store closures.

The world’s biggest bed company Tempur Sealy International has a new leader following the high-profile ousting of former CEO Mark Sarvary earlier this year.

A major Malaysian furniture delegation has joined a raft of new and returning exhibitors to sign to the January Furniture Show, scheduled for 24th–27th January 2016.

Year-on-year retail prices were lower for a 28th consecutive month but unchanged in August, according to the British Retail Consortium.

sofaComVinceGunnUpholstery retailer Sofa.com has named Vince Gunn as its new chief executive following the earlier appointment of a new CFO.

Like-for-like retail sales dropped in August as retailers relied on new space to make up the shortfall, according to the British Retail Consortium.

A fall in sales in the third quarter proved a setback for the owner of the Habitat furniture retail brand outside the United Kingdom.

loafHomeLoaf says the launch of its new London store will have a transformational effect as it looks to build on profitable growth in 2014–15.

The pace of the rollout of the Habitat brand has been accelerated with the chain to reach its 2015–16 store target several months ahead of schedule.

The privately owned group behind the out-of-town Trago Mills shopping centres enjoyed a leap in profits in 2014 despite relatively flat sales.

conranSelfridgesFurniture and design retailer The Conran Shop is preparing to open its third UK store with a new concession inside Selfridges London.

westElmThumbWest Elm senior buyer Angus Whyte and vice president Kerri Ackermann tell The Furnishing Report about its new gallery in John Lewis.

Premium sofa and chair manufacturer Spink & Edgar Upholstery and luxury fabrics supplier Swaffer have partnered for a new product line to be introduced this month.

bentallsKingstonDepartment store retailer Bentalls has appointed the former head furniture buyer at rival retailer John Lewis for a newly created director of buying role.

Ponsford commercial director David Carter has left to launch his own brand management, distribution and sourcing business.

ulsterInternalMajor flooring manufacturer Ulster Carpets has unfurled the first phase of its £30m investment programme as it celebrates another year of record profits.

nickRadfordSmallThe acquisition of the Morris, Zone and Relaxateeze brands meets a strategic need, says Nathan Group chairman Nicholas Radford. He tells the Furnishing Report why.

Taking full control of the G Plan brand represents a powerful opportunity for the upholstery group Sofa Brands International.

Whirlpool has waded into the battle to acquire British premium stoves and furnishings group Aga Rangemaster, threatening to capsize a bid from one of its rivals.

hatfieldsColchesterSales growth escalated at large independent furniture retailer Hatfields of Colchester in the year to end March.