Daily updates on the latest situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the furniture, flooring and furnishings trade.

Direct-to-consumer mattress brand ensures "adequate coverage for the coming months."

Bricks-and-mortar furniture and floorcoverings retail will go into hibernation after the Prime Minister announced a U.K. lockdown as it grapples the coronavirus pandemic. But the Government has left the door open for those wishing to remain open.

Retailers and other commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction, the Government announced last night.

Soft furnishings supplier Colefax Group has decided to cancel its interim dividend payment as a result of the uncertainty surround the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fashion-to-furnishings retailer Laura Ashley is to be placed into administration later today with the closure of almost half of its U.K. store portfolio with near immediate effect.

Two of the largest privately-owned furniture and beds retailers in the South East have opted to close stores amid the unfolding coronavirus crisis, among the first major independents in England to do so.

John Lewis & Partners says online orders are ramping significantly but it will still need to buy less from suppliers as it adjusts to the impact of temporary store closures.

Andersons of Inverurie, one of the largest single-store furniture retailers in the U.K., last night closed its store to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Italian Government took further steps to try and slow the spread of coronavirus on Saturday night, ordering the closure of all non-essential factories.

Food and general merchandise retailer Marks and Spencer said it would pivot more resources to its food business as sales in other categories fall sharply because of the coronavirus.

John Lewis Partnership says it will temporarily close all of its John Lewis department stores because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The South West Beds Show, organised by the South West Furniture Manufacturers' Agents and Representatives Federation, has been cancelled.

Bed maker Harrison Spinks has planted 90 trees at a local primary school near its Leeds HQ and has committed to plant even more at the beginning of the new season later this year.

ScS, Britain's second largest upholstery specialist, has reiterated its readiness to cope with the coronavirus crisis but cautioned that many factors remain uncertain.

Few U.K. furniture retailers have yet closed their doors in response to the coronavirus pandemic but by now there cannot be a single one in the country that has not contemplated that prospect, enforced or otherwise.

One of Eastern Europe's largest furniture manufacturers has closed all its production plants for the next few weeks, and says it could extend the shutdown even longer.

The vast majority British furniture and department store retailers have so far resisted making wholesale store closures despite footfall collapsing as consumers follow Government guidance to increase social distancing to try and halt coronavirus contagion.

Carpetright, Britain's biggest floorcoverings retailer, is to sponsor Exeter City Football Club for three years starting from the beginning of next season.

General merchandise retailer Next has outlined how it would cope if the coronavirus pandemic leads to its annual turnover dropping by 25 percent over the next year.

The Guilford showroom of furniture retailer Loaf was last week named winner of the Store of the Year — Small Format category at the Retail Week Awards 2020.

Furniture wholesaler Julian Bowen, one of the largest companies of its type in Britain, recorded higher profits last year after it grew sales and achieved wider gross margin.

The final eleven Beales department stores will close tomorrow, two weeks earlier than scheduled after footfall collapsed.

The Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers has cancelled the spring edition of its Long Point event, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

IKEA, the U.K.'s largest home merchandise goods retailer, is to close all instore cafés and restaurants following the Government advice for citizens to avoid social contact.

Laura Ashley yesterday announced it had filed a notice of its intent to appoint administrators, effectively putting a moratorium on creditors calling in their debts.

Sales at inexpensive Danish furniture chain JYSK grew nearly a fifth last year ahead of the retailer embarking on an ambitious expansion programme.

All U.K. retailers — irrespective of size or sector — will be given a year-long business rates holiday as part of a range of packages introduced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to combat the impact of coronavirus on the British economy.

Grand Designs Live, the consumer home show run by exhibition organiser Media 10, has been postponed until the summer because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fashion-to-furnishings retailer Laura Ashley says the coronavirus outbreak has prompted "an immediate and significant impact on trading" and will force it to file for administration.

Williams-Sonoma, the U.S. headquartered furniture and homeware conglomerate, has announced the temporary closure of its stores in North America.

A new week began with fewer shoppers but more grey hairs as footfall declined sharply and retailers consider the impact of increasingly draconian measures on society to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Upholstery and carpets chain ScS said order intake was up 3.3 percent in the seven weeks to March 14 but cautioned of falling footfall in recent days and said it would delay the release of its full interim results until nearer the end of the week.

Clerkenwell Design Week, originally slated for a May 19–21, 2020 dateline, has been postponed until later in the year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

New filings reveal size of Business Growth Fund stake.

Laura Ashley says it is in talks with an unnamed third-party lender regarding further funding else it will run out of cash and need to consider all options. That is despite a big bump in early 2020 sales.

Production at Natuzzi's operations in China are normalising as fears grow for its factories back in its native Italy amid the nationwide lockdown in the country.

A Staffordshire furniture manufacturer that had been restructured via a prepack administration process late 2018 has filed for insolvency for a second time in a little over a year.

Alteri Investors has appointed advisors to run an accelerated auction process of beds and furniture chains Bensons for Beds and Harveys, Sky News reported over the weekend.

At the end of January I wrote an article about the strength of Britain's independent furniture retail sector, underscoring the cash-rich nature of some of its companies.

The value of furniture stocks fell sharply Thursday as markets reacted to the escalating coronavirus pandemic. Upholstery rivals DFS and ScS — the U.K.'s two most prominent listed furniture businesses — saw their market capitalisations drop by a combined £84.4 million in a single day.

Maisons du Monde, the French furniture retailer that closed its four Debenhams concessions in the final part of last year, says it is expecting up to a mid single-digit top line decline because of supply chain disruption.

The spring edition of U.S. furniture trade fair High Point Market has been postponed, the latest world exhibition to fall foul of the coronavirus pandemic.

Four in five online shoppers bought beds without having tested the mattress in a store before purchasing according to new research commissioned by the National Bed Federation (NBF).

The competition watchdog has waved through the sale of Dewsbury carpet yarn supplier Lawton Yarns to new buyers, saying no third parties objected to the deal.

Heal's, the swish contemporary furniture and home accents retailer, has remodelled the ground floor of its flagship London store on Tottenham Court Road.

The Norwegian recliner giant behind the Stressless brand endured Brexit-related headwinds in the U.K. and Ireland market last year but sales in reporting currency were still close to flat.

The Italian Government last night announced that all bar the most essential services would shut down as the country tries to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Debenhams, the storied U.K. department store retailer, has hired headhunters to recruit a new chief executive with incumbent boss Stefaan Vansteenkiste to leave.

All retailers operating from properties with a rateable value below £51,000 will pay no business rates for a year under emergency measures introduced today by the Government in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Headlam Group, Europe's largest floorcoverings wholesale group, has agreed to buy Lancashire distributor Supertex Furnishings from its private shareholders.

South East beds retailer Vic Smith Bedding says its won't repeat a newspaper advert that prompted complaints, insisting it had no intent to offend its multi-cultural customer base.

DFS says production volumes in China are increasing again after the coronavirus outbreak temporarily brought factories to a halt. But it cautioned it could face disruption elsewhere, including at its own U.K. operation.

Openings planned for the second half of 2020 will see sofa chain Sofology reach a half-century of stores by the end of this year.

DFS says it is actively reviewing the cost structure of its Sofa Workshop brand after the business unit took a hit from weak demand and a one-off systems issue.

DFS, Britain's largest upholstery retailer, booked lower half-year profits on cost headwinds, one-off factors and after revenue declined against strong comparatives.

The value of listed furniture companies across the world tumbled yesterday as coronavirus fears combined with a slump in the price of oil to send shares into freefall.

Carpe Diem Beds, the premium Swedish mattress manufacturer, last week opened its first U.K. retail showroom as it looks to expand its international reach.

La-Z-Boy U.K. has become a supplier to the Minerva furniture buying group, the British arm of the international recliner company has announced.

Heavy rain, often desired by furniture retailers as it is considered a boon to big-ticket footfall, dampened high street shopper numbers last month though had a less pronounced impact on retail parks.

Parts of northern Italy are in lockdown after the Government initiated extreme isolation measures to try and limit the rapid spread of coronavirus.

The discount department store retailer TJ Hughes has closed a small number of outlet stores after restructuring part of its operation through a prepack administration process.

Carpet maker Balta Group, Europe's largest textile floorcoverings manufacturer, said U.K. sales fell sharply in the final quarter as its customers reversed earlier spending patterns.

Carpet maker Burmatex shrugged off weak trading conditions to outperform the commercial floorcoverings sector last year.

Lee Longlands, one of the U.K.'s largest independent furniture retailers, lauded the performance of its continuing business in a year that saw its remaining stores trading under the Furniture Barn fascia close.

Axminster Carpets, the Devon carpet maker placed into administration for the second time in seven years last month, has been saved after a group of private investors acquired the business as a going concern.

Creditors of the no-longer-trading independent furniture retailer Holdens of Newark face an expected shortfall north of £800,000, the biggest sum being a collateralised intra-group balance.

The incoming chairman at John Lewis Partnership says breathing new life into the home merchandise segment of its department store chain is high among its priorities for 2020.

Next, the general merchandise retailer, is to launch an "extensive range of homeware, nursery and fashion items" under the Scion label after striking a deal with its brand owner.

Natuzzi says Pasquale Natuzzi, the founder and largest shareholder of the Italian sofa giant, has agreed to provide up to €15 million to the company "in light of the current extraordinary challenges faced by the group."

A dissenting taxman almost scuppered the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) between furniture wholesaler Content by Terence Conran and its creditors.

Snug Shack, the sofa-in-a-box business whose two co-founders have a combined 60 years furniture industry experience between them, says the brand has achieved its first year sales target.

Two of the U.K.'s leading organisations that champion good sleep yesterday launched the 'Wake Up Call' manifesto at Westminster in a bid to get the Government to push sleep higher up the public health agenda.

Higher costs and narrower gross margin countered the impact of an increase in revenue last year at Headlam Group, Europe's largest floorcoverings distributor.

U.K. upholstery sales climbed at pace in 2019 for the Thai owner of British sofa makers Alstons and Ashley Manor but foreign exchange and rising production costs pulled profits lower.

North West based living room and bedroom cabinet maker Klever Furniture has written to stakeholders including customers and suppliers saying it is no longer trading.

Sales of foam used in the production of mattresses and upholstery fell sharply for industrial giant Recticel last year on weaker volumes and selling price erosion.

Furniture shows that were originally slated to open their doors within the next week before being cancelled because of the coronavirus have begun to release revised exhibition datelines.

Karen Knighton, one of the founding directors at fast-growing retailer Tapi Carpets & Floors, has retired after a long career in the floorcoverings sector.

The once-ubiquitous BHS fascia has re-emerged in parts of the Midlands, North and Scotland after the brand owner's licensing partner rebadged its store network.

U.K. wholesalers, retailers and manufacturers reliant on Chinese components such as inexpensive fabrics have long been braced for delays as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Bedroom and home office furniture maker and retailer Sharps booked higher profits in the first quarter of its 2019–20 financial year thanks to higher sales, wider margin and a foreign exchange gain.

BFM, the trade association representing U.K,. furniture manufacturers, says business optimism in January reached its highest level since the financial crash.

Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South since 2015, is the new chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the furniture and furnishings industry.

Losses widened for Wayfair in 2019 but the home furnishings giant said it made "rapid" U.K. market share gains as it invested in building brand awareness here.

The Sleep Council, the bed industry funded body that has been highlighting the importance of sleep for the past 25 years, has rebranded and updated its core vision after achieving its early aims.

The value of customer redress claims has left furniture and electricals rent-to-own retailer BrightHouse in a battle for survival, according to weekend press reports.

Combined revenue at the divested U.K. furniture and mattress operations of Steinhoff International Holdings declined at a narrower rate in the final three months of 2019 compared to earlier periods.

Organisers of High Point Market, the global furniture exhibition held twice-annually in the U.S., see no reason to revise the dates of its spring event because of coronavirus concerns, saying it will open as scheduled.

Shopper sentiment towards high-value items such as furniture jumped to its highest level in 17 months in February according to a closely-followed monthly consumer confidence survey.

Home improvement retailer Homebase added thousands of new products last year as the business re-emerged as a key player in furniture and returned to profit at the EBITDA line.

Dwell, the DFS-owned retailer, will today become the latest furniture company to open a concession inside home improvement chain Homebase.

The circa £30 million turnover floorcoverings retailer behind brands including Flooring Superstore and Direct Wood Flooring is planning to expand its store footprint after agreeing new funding.

Clarke & Clarke, the soft furnishings brand owned by interiors group Walker Greenbank, is collaborating with TV personality Tess Daly on the launch of her first homeware collection.

A second Closing the Gap conference promoting how companies in the furniture and furnishings sector can access funded training for upskilling staff and apprenticeship programmes is to take place next month.

The shutdown of department store chain Beales will hit fashion and beauty brands more than home suppliers, according to new statutory filings.

Houseology lives on after The Moot Group acquired the brand and other assets of the insolvent Glasgow retailer, which had been placed into administration through Leonard Curtis last month.

A Staffordshire ecommerce group behind two high-end furniture and lifestyle retail websites has acquired the assets of Houseology, the premium home etailer that ceased trading last month.

The Vietnam International Furniture & Home Accessories Fair has become the latest to postpone its spring event because of concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

General merchandise retailer Argos, one of the U.K.'s biggest retailers of mattresses and other furniture, has opened its 300th store inside a Sainsbury's supermarket.

The Salone del Mobile furniture exhibition in Milan has been postponed until the early summer after parts of northern Italy were hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Italian sofa maker Natuzzi, which derives one quarter of its planned global 2020 production out of its Chinese factory, says its Shanghai plant has returned to work but warned it will be some time before operations are running normally.

Asset realisation specialists have been hired to sell off machinery and other assets of a North West bedding company that filed for insolvency earlier this month.

The reshaping of the board of luxury fabrics and interior furnishings group Walker Greenbank has continued with the appointment of a new chief financial officer.

The managing director of trade association BFM says he is delighted with the outcome of the BFM Fabric Show London with plans already progressing for the 2021 edition.

New statutory filings disclose the depth of expected creditor shortfall at premium online furniture and lifestyle retailer Houseology Design Group, which was placed into administration last month.

Bed giant Hilding Anders yesterday declined to comment on a report Friday that it is in advanced talks to sell its Feather & Black retail business to turnaround investor Rcapital.

Ecommerce retailer Wayfair U.K. has brought its CosmoLiving by Cosmopolitan programme of furniture and home accents to its British business for the first time.

Boardroom change rather than personnel change at Frasers Group controlled upholstery vertical.

A key furniture supplier to the residential property sector is to expand its customer base with the launch of a retail showroom in the North West next week.

Swedish beds conglomerate Hilding Anders is in advanced talks to divest its U.K. retail operation Feather & Black according to Sky News.

The German business behind the Emma direct-to-consumer mattress business wants to acquire the Dunlopillo brand rights in France after its current owner was placed into an insolvency process late last year.

The West Yorkshire company behind the kids furniture brand Stompa in the U.K. market recorded high six-figure cash and profit yields in 2018–19.

Joseph Joseph Group, the parent company to one of Britain's most successful housewares brands, posted profits up more than a third last year as revenue growth accelerated.

Emerging designers have until this Friday (Feb. 28) to get their entries in for the inaugural 2020 Vision Design competition — the new contest organised by The Furniture Industry Research Association in partnership with Clerkenwell Design Week.

Profits almost doubled at online beds retailer MattressOnline last year as the company returned to top line growth and achieved wider margins.

Higher prices helped retailers find value growth in January as sales volumes across furniture and lighting flatlined compared with the same month a year ago.

Furniture and flooring retailers nationwide will have new landlords after major retail property owner Hammerson sold nine retail parks for a combined £455 million.

There is no doubting the news maker of the week in the U.K. home furnishings sector: Laura Ashley.

Howdens Joinery, Britain's largest kitchens manufacturer, has been awarded the Manufacturing Guild Mark by The Furniture Makers' Company.

Former Habitat head of trading Katharine Poulter has taken up her new post as CEO at fashion-to-furnishings chain Laura Ashley earlier than planned, the retailer said today.

Axminster Carpets has been placed into administration for the second time in seven years as efforts to find a solvent solution for the heritage carpet brand failed.

Italian sofa manufacturer Natuzzi has launched a first-ever ecommerce platform in the U.K. for its flagship Natuzzi Italia brand.

The price of sofas leaving U.K. factories declined in January according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Luxury furniture and interiors platform LuxDeco said it grew sales by more than a third during the final three months of 2019 as it bucked the malaise afflicting rivals.

Bust furniture, furnishings and flooring companies left creditors facing an average shortfall of £3.25 million per week through 2019 as the number of businesses falling insolvent spiked year-on-year.

Administrators handling the insolvency of Beales say the department store chain's remaining 11 stores are also now earmarked for closure.

Fast-expanding kitchen maker and retailer Wren will this spring open a 252,000sqft U.S. factory ahead of launching its first overseas showrooms this summer.

Experienced soft furnishings industry executive Rob Surtees has joined West Yorkshire based fabrics supplier Prestigious Textiles as U.K. sales director.

South East homewares distributor Sabichi enjoyed bumper sales growth last year as investment in new product paid dividends.

Inaugural group accounts for the new holding company of fitted furniture specialist Hammonds disclose the deal value for its 2019 management buyout.

Ekornes, the Norwegian company behind the Stressless recliner brand, has named Roger Lunde as its new chief executive.

Adjustable beds and upholstery producer Furmanac has refinanced, agreeing a new loan that will lower its overall borrowing costs.

The impact of the coronavirus on Far East trade shows has spread beyond China with the organiser of the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) postponing its spring event until the summer.

Pan-European Internet retailer Home24 said it was profitable by one earnings measure in the fourth quarter as it began to reap the benefit of efficiency initiatives.

A decline in furniture sales have sparked a liquidity crunch at Laura Ashley, which says it is in talks with lender Wells Fargo regarding its funding requirements.

High-end German bed maker Ruf Betten has acquired the company behind ecommerce mattress-in-a-box brand Bruno Sleep.

Ashford retailer Ashbury Furniture will close for good today (Feb. 17) after the privately-owned company suffered a downturn because of extended roadworks.

Sussex Beds will take store numbers into double figures with the opening of its tenth store next month.

The furniture ecommerce operation is unaffected by the department store retailer's insolvency.

Ena Shaw, the Potter-family owned soft furnishings supplier and home retailer, has ceased trading and been placed into administration.

The company behind the Yeoman Upholstery business has been placed into administration, the second time the show-wood sofa maker has fallen insolvent in a little over six years.

High-end sofa maker Delcor has a fifth showroom after it opened at the new Derwent House Living furniture and interiors store in Oxfordshire.

Home furnishings ecommerce giant Wayfair is to lay off 550 people worldwide, representing about 3 percent of its global workforce, according to the Boston Globe.

Tempur Sealy International said worldwide sales climbed in the fourth quarter of 2019 as its direct channel countered flat wholesale revenues.

As British furniture retailers and wholesalers brace for production delays because of the coronavirus outbreak, investors in major Chinese furniture equities are already feeling the pinch: in their pockets.

BFM says it will make the case for Britain's furniture industry as the sector digests new proposals from the independent body advising the Government on post-Brexit migration.

Foam and sprung mattress imports fell for the first time in seven years in 2019 after a third straight monthly decline in December.

Floorcoverings and beds retailer United Carpets Group said profits will be lower than expected after consumers failed to loosen the purse strings following "the decisive result in the General Election."

Inter Ikea, the company that controls the IKEA brand and franchise concept, has named Jon Abrahamsson Ring as its new chief executive.



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