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

Wholesale giant Headlam Group says it is "engaging fully" with the Competition and Markets Authority after the watchdog said it was investigating the company's already-completed takeovers of three South East floorcoverings distributors.

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65 underperforming stores were closed during the half
Carpetright, Britain's biggest carpets and flooring retailer, booked a £12 million net loss for the six months to October 27 during which it closed stores and deleveraged.

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Paula Nickolds cuts the ribbon at Harrison Spinks' new Innovation Centre
John Lewis & Partners managing director Paula Nickolds was guest of honour as bed manufacturer Harrison Spinks officially opened its new £2.5 million Innovation Centre at its Leeds headquarters last Friday.

Profits at Burnley bed manufacturer Sweet Dreams advanced as wider gross margin helped counter the impact of lower turnover in the year to March 31, 2018.

Furniture distributor La-Z-Boy UK will add occasional furniture and dining sets as it diversifies its product offer further at next month's January Furniture Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

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Sterling Furniture's flagship Tillicoultry headquarters
Sterling Furniture Group maintained its upwards sales trajectory in 2017–18 with management saying the climb reflected a first full year's inclusion of the Glasgow retailer it bought two years ago.

New facility for Hong Kong listed Man Wah.

Leekes says kitchens, bathrooms and conservatories have been winning categories for the home department store retailer in the first half of its 2018–19 financial year.

Flooring retailer Tapi Carpets has signed a concession partnership with Homebase that will see it open instore units across the home improvement chain's estate.

Retail footfall declined in November with all three types of destination — high streets, retail parks and shopping centres — seeing fewer people than they did in the same month last year.

Sofa.com's headline numbers for 2017–18 are less than impressive but there are mitigating factors and reasons to believe its new owner is not watering a dead plant.

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Sofa.com's Edinburgh showroom
Upholstery vertical Sofa.com booked a consolidated net loss of £38.4 million in the period leading up its change of ownership this summer, largely the result of management writing down the carrying value of its assets.

Steinhoff International Holdings says the outcome of PwC's forensic investigation into historic accounting irregularities will not be ready as soon as hoped, forcing it to delay releasing audited 2017 and 2018 accounts until spring next year.

Multi-million pound property deal preceded Beales lease assignment.

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Ian Oscroft and Whitemeadow colleagues celebrate their award win
Sofa maker Whitemeadow has been awarded the ‘Excellence in Manufacturing’ award at the 10th annual Chad Business Awards, organised by local newspaper the Mansfield & Ashfield Chad.

Industry charity The Furniture Makers’ Company has launched a Christmas fundraising campaign and is asking for the entire furnishing industry to sponsor a School Design Prize.

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Eve Sleep updates on plans for £15m of fresh investment
Eve Sleep has extended its cash runway in the past month and revealed it has received commitments from investors for about two-thirds of the hoped-for £15 million in fresh equity investment.

General merchandise giant Argos is scoping out the launch of an interest-free credit offer as it considers new ways of using finance to drive sales of higher-ticket furniture goods.

Heritage brand Nathan has moved all furniture production and finishing to the Indonesian factory that has been manufacturing its entire Shades collection since 2011.

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New non-executives join DFS board
Upholstery market leader DFS has appointed Travelodge CFO Jo Boydell and 20-year retail veteran Steve Johnson to its board as independent non-executive directors.

Two furniture businesses have taken the last available space at Anchor Brook, an industrial park at Walsall in the West Midlands.

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Recticel supplies foam used as comfort fillings by mattress and upholstery manufacturers
The UK arm of foam giant Recticel slipped to a loss last year after squeezed margins combined with millions of pounds of customer claim costs because of a supply chain issue.

Sales growth disappeared for John Lewis & Partners in the week after Black Friday as the impact of launching offers earlier left it unable to match prior-year trade. Home was the worst-performing category.

Ecommerce giant Wayfair is planning to build a larger UK distribution centre in the East Midlands as it looks to keep pace with the rapid growth of its British operation.

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Silentnight's new Healthy Growth mattress line
Silentnight, Britain's largest bed maker, has introduced a new kids-oriented mattress line after commissioning research it describes as the "first major UK study to characterise children's sleep habits."

Travis Perkins may sell its Wickes DIY, kitchens and bathrooms chain as part of a plan to focus on trade customers and simplify its business.

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Exhibitors known for supplying the retail sector also serve contract customers. Image: Whitemeadow
The January Furniture Show will — for the first time — feature a Contract Trail as organisers look to make it easier for specifiers to pinpoint the exhibitors with both the capability and interest in supplying them.

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Cookes Furniture's Erdington, Birmingham store
Longstanding Midlands and Dorset furniture retailer Cookes says investments made over the past three years have impacted near-term profits but helped it to diversify and broaden its appeal for the next generation.

James Pike on the future for Cookes and other multi-generational independent retailers.

Pure CF has been restructured via a prepack administration process in a transaction that saves the jobs of all of the contract furniture maker's employees.

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Online sales helped boost November figures
Like-for-like retail sales dipped in November according to the British Retail Consortium with more spend transferring online as Black Friday promotions become "increasingly digital."

FIRA International, the furniture test house and industry services provider, has revealed its new brand identity as it continues its integration with its new owner.

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Natuzzi is adding new retail space while rationalising its concessions
Italian sofa maker Natuzzi has chosen Cardiff for its first Natuzzi Editions showroom in Europe. It will open alongside a number of new Natuzzi Italia branded stores across the UK within the next few weeks.

Premium kitchen makers Smallbone of Devizes and Mark Wilkinson Furniture have been sold to a high net worth American investor in a prepack deal that secures the near-term future of both heritage brands.

Contract furniture maker Godfrey Syrett has told employees that it could close one of its sites in the North East in order to secure the business' near to mid-term future.

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Despite confidence falling in November, consumers are as likely to splash out on beds and other big-ticket items as they were this time last year
Big ticket spend intention among UK shoppers worsened in November according to a closely-followed consumer confidence survey, but is unchanged year-on-year.

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House of Fraser's Kendals store at Deansgate, Manchester
House of Fraser says its Kendals store in Manchester — slated to close because it couldn't agree new terms with the landlord — will now not shut after it belatedly struck an accord with the building owner.

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Chesterfield based Designer Contracts is celebrating its 25th year in business
Floorcoverings supplier Designer Contracts has featured in The Business Reporter’s ‘Best of British Business’ campaign, which highlights nationwide success stories across all industries.

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Beales, based at Bournemouth, now has 23 stores nationwide
Beales, the department store chain recently bought by its chief executive Tony Brown, has completed a buyout of two-store East of England retailer Palmers, a deal that had been in the pipeline since the summer.

Accountancy regulator delivers disciplinary formal complaint against KPMG and one of its partners alleging misconduct for work prior to Silentnight's sale in 2011. The complaint is "wholly without merit" according to KPMG.

North West upholstery fabrics supplier Fryett's said it sees 'significant opportunities' for exports as overseas sales comparatives outperformed its much larger UK revenue base in 2017–18.

Wayfair, the American ecommerce giant fast becoming one of the UK's largest furniture retailers, has raised $500 million (£391m) from bond investors through the issue of convertible notes.

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Lighting from Calex Holland
Dutch LED lighting specialist Calex Holland, one of Europe's key suppliers in the category, has joined the roster of brands to exhibit at Light, the new dedicated event at January Furniture Show 2019.

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Peter Green's store at Chandler's Ford, Hampshire
Hampshire based Peter Green, one of the country's largest independent single-store furniture retailers, posted skinnier profits as sales declined in the year to March 31, 2018.

Global home furnishings retailer IKEA says it plans to absorb the cost of transforming its business over the next few years at the expense of the bottom line.

Malcolm Nix, the former Sleepeezee, Wood Bros and Michael Tyler Upholstery executive, has been appointed UK main agent for Tuscan sofa maker Gradi Living.

Forte, one of Europe's largest makers of ready-to-assemble furniture, recorded lower revenue in the third quarter despite higher sales in Western and Northern Europe and in its domestic market.

Seasoned retail executive Nigel Oddy is to leave his post as CEO of circa 150-store home and leisure chain The Range, according to trade journal Retail Week.

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UK sofa market becoming more concentrated
Britain's three largest supply groups increased their share of a declining upholstery market last year and were responsible for more than one in every six sofas sold in the UK by value.

Sales at department store retailer John Lewis & Partners topped £230 million last week, which included Black Friday, making it the highest grossing week in its 154-year history.

Shire Beds has invested nearly £750,000 on new mattress making equipment for its Roll and Rest programme with the product line responsible for an increasing proportion of its business.

Strong mattress sales helped the home category return to growth as John Lewis & Partners posted the highest grossing week in its history in the seven days to November 24.

The company behind the direct-to-consumer bed brand Emma says it shifted €5 million of mattresses across Europe over the Black Friday weekend (Nov. 23–26).

Canburg, the company behind high-end kitchen businesses Smallbone of Devizes and Mark Wilkinson, has filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators, according to Sky News. Corporate filings indicate a restructure may be imminent.

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Harry Corry trades from nearly 50 stores
Sales and profits jumped for furniture and furnishings chain Harry Corry Interiors in the first period since it finished its landlord-only Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) which it had seen it secure rent reductions.

Floorcoverings group Victoria has decided to emphasise paying down debt with borrowing reaching what its board sees as "an internal ceiling" after it completed major acquisitions in the past year.

Essex furniture and interiors retailer Roomes says it has taken steps to put the business on sound footing after a year where big-ticket sales were impacted by consumer uncertainty.

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DFS has a new store at Westfield White City
DFS has opened a new store at Westfield White City in London, one of only a handful of stores based in shopping centres for the UK upholstery market leader.

Two U.S headquartered investment outfits now own a shade under 40 percent of the shares in Victoria, the acquisitive British flooring group, after further stock building last week.

Sleepeezee is to exhibit at the IMM Cologne exhibition for the first time ever as it looks to escalate the size of its international business, part of a plan to double its revenue over the next four years.