irishUpholsteryManufacturingFurniture exports were up strongly in 2014 though Ireland — which represents UK producers' biggest market — proved an exception despite what was clearly a strong year for Irish furniture retail sales.

British furniture exports were up 9 per cent to £817.5m in 2014. Of that, £160.7m was exported to Ireland, making it comfortably the most important market and worth nearly 20 per cent of all exports.

However, the 2014 figure is barely 1 per cent up on the 2013 total. Any growth is good, but it’s clear that British manufacturers enjoyed greater success elsewhere.

So, does that mean that demand for furniture in Ireland is at a low ebb? No, not a bit of it: 2014 has actually been a bumper year for furniture sales in Ireland.

According to the Central Statistics Office — Ireland’s equivalent of the Office for National Statistics — furniture retail sales in the country were stellar all 2014, culminating in year-on-year growth of 17pc, 28pc and 15pc in the final three months of the year.

If Irish retailers haven’t bought significantly more from British producers and wholesalers to power this demand, one logical conclusion — though, admittedly, not the only one — is that domestic suppliers have been among those to fuel it.