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

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Hafele U.K.'s Rugby premises. Image: Google
The British arm of furniture fittings and hardware company Hafele maintained profits just north of £11.1 million last year as price management and cost control helped counter challenging trading conditions.

Tim Powell has formally joined the board of Porta Romana, the circa £14 million supplier of luxury furniture and home accents to the interior design market.

rdmBlueBackgroundBY RICHARD DE MELIM


The first time I met Steve Freeman, who is stepping down as group managing director at Silentnight, was in rather awkward circumstances.

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The trial will launch at three of John Lewis' stores in southern and eastern England in late June.
Customers of John Lewis & Partners will be able to get an immersive pre-purchase experience of how new upholstery, cabinet or beds will look in their home with the chain to pilot virtual reality at three of its stores.

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Ponden Home Interiors has about 130 stores.
The company behind the Ponden Home Interiors chain of bedding, window dressings and soft furnishings stores slipped to a loss in 2017–18, new prolonged company accounts reveal.

Parisian bed maker unites with historic lighting business in private equity backed merger.

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Sharon White replaces Sir Charlie Mayfield.
Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom and a former high-ranking civil servant, will be the next chairman at John Lewis Partnership, parent to department store retailer John Lewis and supermarket chain Waitrose.

Kitchen maker and retailer Wren is planning to make the biggest single investment in its decade-long history with a proposed additional factory at its Barton-upon-Humber base that could create 1,200 new jobs.

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The Skandium.com website is to be relaunched.
Skandium, the London based designer furniture retailer that earlier this year entered insolvency proceedings and ceased trading, is to be resurrected after the backers of a third-party Danish retailer stepped in to buy its IP.

Stollers, one of the largest independent furniture stores in the U.K., returned to growth in 2017–18 with the retailer recording its highest sales on public record.

Alexander Anton, one of the descendants of the original founder of carpet maker Victoria and a catalyst for the epochal change of the business into one of the industry's largest players, is leaving the board.

Independent home furnishings retailer Futters of Great Yarmouth is leaving The Conge area of the town after 70 years, but hopes to find new premises from which to continue trading.

Findel, the listed home shopping retailer and educational equipment provider, plans to rebrand its corporate name as Studio Retail Group, reflecting the name of its core ecommerce business.

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Silentnight's group HQ and (inset) Steve Freeman.
Steve Freeman is stepping down from day-to-day executive duties and leaving his post as managing director of Silentnight Group, Britain's biggest beds manufacturer.

The new managing director of the Silentnight Group joins from outside the beds industry but with years of high-level home sector experience at Farrow & Ball.

Direct-to-consumer mattress and ancillary products business Eve Sleep will announce new retail partnerships this summer.

Home sales declined for a sixth straight week at John Lewis & Partners but big-ticket furniture and flooring ranges were among the exceptions, delivering growth for the chain.

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An artist's impression of the new Loaf unit.
Loaf's planned Bristol showroom, the existence of which we revealed two weeks ago, will be at Cribbs Causeway, the furniture retailer has disclosed.

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IKEA faces some of the same challenges as independent retailers.
On the surface, there is little in common between global conglomerate IKEA and Britain's best independent furniture retailers. But the home furnishings market leader does share one very important trait — a strength which is also a threat.

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Bank holidays were a positive for home retailers as other categories suffered.
Retailers suffered in May as year-on-year sales fell 2.7 percent, the worst figure recorded by the British Retail Consortium since its records began more than 20 years ago.

A Midlands furniture wholesaler has written off a seven-figure sum due to it after three co-controlled recipients of loans were placed into liquidation, rendering the debt unrecoverable.

BFM, the trade association representing U.K. furniture manufacturers, says it can support British companies wanting to access funding to exhibit at next year's Milan furniture fair.

Stax Trade Centres, the multi-branch wholesaler of goods ranging from kitchens to garden furniture and homeware, grew sales and profits in the year to September 1, 2018.

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Home24 trades across mainland Europe as well as operating a furniture ecommerce business in Brazil.
Home24, the Germany based Internet furniture retailer that operates across mainland Europe, pinned a bigger first quarter deficit on investment in property including a major new warehouse and clearance store.

Independent valuers wrote down the worth of IKEA's U.K. property empire in 2017–18 though a nine-figure outlay by the retail giant acquiring more during the period meant its overall value still climbed.

Former Halo executive David Watts has joined sofa maker Alexander & James as global business director with a brief to drive international sales at the upholstery brand.

A home furnishings retail and wholesale business that sold goods through online deal websites has been placed into liquidation leaving creditors facing a seven-figure shortfall.

More on the fallout from the closure of Hull furniture maker Kingstown.

Former Parker Knoll and Gloster Furniture director Charles Vernon has become a non-executive director at Alexander Rose, the Burgess Hill based garden furniture business.

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Supplying Harveys is the primary focus of the sofa supply division, based here in South Wales. Image: Google.
Steinhoff UK Upholstery has a new name, brand and logo as the circa £95 million turnover supplier, whose main focus is and continues to be supplying Harveys, explores ways it can maximise its capacity.

Acquisitive floorcoverings distributor and manufacturer Victoria has added another U.K. company to its growing roster of subsidiaries with a low-key takeover of a £23 million turnover Yorkshire carpet maker.

Shoppers' propensity to spend money on high value items such as furniture improved for the first time in three months in May, according to the closely-followed Consumer Consumer Index.

West Elm, the American owned furniture retailer with an expanding U.K. business, enjoyed double-digit sales growth in the first quarter, parent Williams-Sonoma said last night.

A key European bedroom furniture supplier to the U.K. market has drastically reduced the number of planned job cuts at its factories after talks with unions and industrial action by employees.

The daughters of the founders of bedroom furniture manufacturer Harrison Brothers (Furniture) have completed a buyout that saves jobs and ensures the business survives.

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IKEA opened two new U.K. full-line stores in 2017–18, but says a rising proportion of online sales impacted distribution costs.
The U.K. trading arm of home furnishings retail giant IKEA has posted its worst net result here in a quarter of a century despite it continuing to build out its market share.

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Dreams' new Sleepmotion bed frame.
National bed specialist Dreams has introduced two remote and app-controlled adjustable bed frames across its 195-store U.K. network and online.

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The Bettzeit management team has expanded to include Gastón Tourn, Christian Portz, Philipp Wagner and Vanessa Vollrath; Photograph: Hannes Keller
Bettzeit, the German company behind growing direct-to-consumer mattress brand Emma, says it will continue its recruitment drive as it looks to build on the appointment of a number of C-suite executives.

New md at southeast England kitchen maker has rich history with U.K. big-ticket retailing.

Home sales fell for a fifth straight week at department store retailer John Lewis & Partners but its performance in the upholstery category did offer some comfort.

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Upholstery sales trended up in mid single-digits.
Rising upholstery and carpet revenue powered retail sales growth in April as retailers made the most of calendar differences to post higher revenues against the same month a year ago.

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Oak Furnitureland has 100 stores in the U.K.
Hardwood furniture chain Oak Furnitureland, the largest retailer of its type in the country, continues to build its U.K. network with new stores in both the North and South of England.

Biggest development in near 50-year history says £8 million rugs distributor, which supplies products to retailers such as Argos.

Mattress Firm, still the largest U.S. beds retailer despite downsizing following a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation, has appointed John Eck as its new chief executive.

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The Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough.
John Lewis & Partners is to refurbish its full-line store at the Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough, introducing new features and giving all departments a makeover.

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Kingstown Furniture's circa 191,000sqft Hull premises.
Kingstown Furniture's Hull factory has been put up for sale with a £5 million asking price but trade suppliers to the collapsed trading arms of the manufacturing and supply divisions won't see a penny of it.

Revenue fell in high single digits in the first quarter at Natuzzi as weaker sales in the wholesale channel were countered by rising output from the Italian sofa giant's direct retail business.

Privately-owned furniture retailer Gillies of Broughty Ferry, which next year marks its 125th anniversary, built out sales for the second straight year in 2017–18, during which it invested in staff training and store refurbishment.

Industry concerns ranging from beds retailer Land of Beds to sofa maker Westbridge are among seven companies featured in the latest sector-specific Parliamentary Review documents.

The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) is relocating from Long Eaton to Oxfordshire as part of a project to modernise the members' trade association.

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Furniture Village Guildford now hosts a Carpetright concession.
Carpetright and Furniture Village have agreed a concession pilot with the former opening a 1,500sqft concession inside the latter's Guildford store.

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Against soft comps, Headlam made gains in early 2019 trading.
Flooring conglomerate Headlam Group said it made top line gains in the first four months of the year with customers spending more in both the residential and commercial sectors.

10-store independent retailer grows sales and clears external bank debt, but profits fall.

Proposals to build a new full line IKEA store in Lancing, West Sussex will not be squashed by Central Government intervention, local officials have been told.

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Sherborne's Virginia three-seat sofa and standard recliner.
Motion furniture maker Sherborne Upholstery is among a slew of first-time companies to have signed to exhibit at the Manchester Furniture Show later this summer.

Discount store chain goes after bigger share of homewares market.

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Easter was later in 2019, impacting inflation.
Furniture retail prices were below year-earlier levels in April according to new Government data as the later fall of Easter in 2019 prompted deflation in the category for the first time this year.

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JYSK will focus on the North and Midlands. Its sole southern store to date, at Bournemouth, closed in 2018.
Danish value furniture chain JYSK has again reiterated plans to ramp up store openings with the aim of trebling its existing U.K. estate over the next half-decade.

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Loaf currently has seven stores across England. Its Battersea showroom is pictured.
Expanding upholstery, cabinet and beds retailer Loaf is to continue its new store rollout with a first showroom in the South West of England.

Upscale Scandinavian furniture brand Hay has recruited the former chief executive at designer chair maker Varier Furniture to oversee its own international business.