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

home24Sales growth escalated for pan-European ecommerce furniture retailer Home24 in 2014 though lower prices meant falling gross margin and wider losses.

Premium interior design retailer Occa-Home says it is building for significant growth by rebranding as Houseology and moving to larger premises.

Prominent BFM members were among a host of British furniture brands to show at last month’s iSaloni series in Milan, which included a BFM stand for the first time.

Bedroom furniture producer Wiemann will make its Long Point debut with the firm saying its presence is recognition of its increasing UK brand awareness.

habitatIntExtThe number of Habitat showrooms across the UK will more than double over the next 12 months under plans to escalate expansion of the mid-premium furniture and home brand.

New stores and online lifted John Lewis sales last week though a solid performance from both indoor and outdoor furniture lines helped Home sales to a 4.1 per cent rise.

Bed manufacturers, suppliers and retailers are being urged to enter the 2015 Bed Show Industry Awards, with the NBF launching the process yesterday.

alstonsFactoryAlstons — which is to be sold to management and a Thai carpet business in a deal effectively valuing it at £32m — becomes the latest in a long line of sofa company transactions this year.

johnAlstonAlstons and BFM chairman John Alston will focus full time on the concrete business once the deal to sell the family upholstery company completes in June.

Organisers of the January Furniture Show have partnered buying group SMG to add a floorcoverings showcase to the 2016 edition.

Colin Watson is stepping down as managing director at the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA) to return to consultancy.

ukFurnitureManufacturingPrivately owned Alstons has been sold to a joint venture comprising the existing management team and Thailand Carpet Manufacturing.

ikeaSales climbed sharply in the UK for IKEA in 2013–14 though weaker gross margin and the cost of growing its workforce hit profits.

Sofa manufacturer QFC capitalised on its significant investment expanding capacity as it returned strongly to profit in 2014.

The benefits of buying up rival carpet and flooring companies is paying off according to Victoria PLC, which says FY earnings will beat expectations.

Andy Harrison has been named chairman at home and furniture chain Dunelm, taking over from Geoff Cooper who retires later this summer.

Membership has swelled at industry trade association FIRA since January with the addition of 16 companies spanning established and new firms across the furniture supply chain.

relyonBensonsRelyon sales to third party stockists were broadly flat in 2013–14 with sales to other Steinhoff owned businesses rising by close to half.

Retail chain Magnet grew strongly in the first quarter buoyed by demand for kitchens at the lower end of its consumer price bracket.

Belgium headquartered textiles group Bekaert — supplier to many UK mattress manufacturers — has been sold by one investment group to another.

westwingNowMembers-only home retailer Westwing is launching a dedicated ecommerce furniture and décor store as it looks to take sales past €200m in 2015.

CASA — Italian for Home — is the name for Devon retailer Queenstreet Carpets & Furnishings’ soon-to-open second showroom (see related).

bedworldThe £10m privately owned ecommerce business behind the Bedworld and Saso mattress, beds and furniture websites has ceased trading.

furnitureQueueFurniture retailers ended the first quarter in rude health with strong March sales and an upwards revision for February, according to official data.

Department store retailer John Lewis has rebranded its B2B arm with a renewed focus on selling furniture and furnishings to trade customers.

actonaOwnersDanish furniture retail group Lars Larsen has acquired a majority stake in circa £100m furniture supplier Actona for an undisclosed sum.

lazboyUkRevenue pushed towards £50m at Colne upholstery supplier Furnico through 2013–14 though weaker gross margin meant profits growth was more modest.

bensonForBedsSteinhoff is steering funds towards developing Harveys’ online business after doing similar for its Bensons for Beds chain paid dividends last year.

Department store chain House of Fraser enjoyed profitable growth in the year to end January, buoyed by rising Internet orders.

comfyQuiltsStrong demand took the top line at bedding giant Comfy Quilts past £80m in 2013–14 though the North West supplier’s profits continued to be hit by legacy issues.

Carpetright says full year profits will be ahead of expectations after it traded strongly in the final three months of its financial year.

Furniture and home retailer IKEA wants to raise its multichannel profile by highlighting the different ways in which consumers can buy its merchandise.

somnusYorkshire beds and components group Harrison Spinks posted record group sales and profits in the year to end June.

Industry backed promotional body The Sleep Council is calling on beds retailers to back its new marketing campaign which starts 1st May.

The future of the high street, instore technology and brand power will be among the retail themes of the Conference and Seminar Programme at next month’s May Design Series.

debenhamsOnlineDepartment store chain Debenhams has overhauled and expanded its online furniture microsite to put trends at the heart of the way product is merchandised.