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

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TCM Corp acquired a majority position in Alstons in 2015.
TCM Corp, the Far East majority owner of UK sofa makers Ashley Manor and Alstons, posted bigger profits at its British upholstery unit after revenue growth through 2018.

The Original Factory Shop, the value department store business that agreed a CVA with creditors last autumn, has bolstered its management team with two senior C-Suite hires.

A greater number of people believe now is the right time to splash out on big-ticket items such as furniture according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index figures from GfK.

Burnley bed manufacturer and furniture distributor Sweet Dreams aims to build its business in the Republic of Ireland after engaging Declan McCarville as sales agent.

Furniture and general merchandise conglomerate Steinhoff International Holdings says the release of audited accounts for 2017 and 2018 will be delayed further.

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Historically, Howdens depots have been about 10,000sqft in size.
Howdens, the trade kitchens supplier, says there is scope for more than 150 new UK depots after it developed a new smaller format that will take the business into both rural areas and big cities.

An associated company has acquired certain assets of Beaumont Beds, the southeast England retail chain that entered administration with the closure of its stores earlier this month.

Wellemöbel, the one-time €100 million turnover bedroom furniture maker with a rich history of supplying the British retail market, is on the brink of permanent closure if new investment is not found soon.

BFM, the trade association for UK furniture makers, says it has an open line into Government to air manufacturers' concerns regarding a potential No-Deal Brexit.

Competing tableware makers Portmeirion and Churchill China have each upped their equity positions in a key local supplier to both businesses, giving them full control between them.

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Actona's Danish headquarters and (inset) one of its sofa ranges. It has upholstery production facilities in China and Ukraine which between them employ around 1,000 people.
Profits halved at the Actona Company after the European furniture supply giant's merger with sister company Interstil gave rise to a number of one-off integration expenses.

The chairman of Laura Ashley has rebuked Flacks Group for its "unsolicited and highly opportunistic" indicative offer, saying it is causing unnecessary volatility and is not welcome.

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Sales fell, but will almost certainly rise next week when its performance will compare with the 'Beast from the East' week.
John Lewis & Partners recorded a seventh straight sales decline for home merchandise last week, blaming "discounting and half-term offers at competitors."

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Big Shots is again sponsored by Furniture Village
Big Shots, the biggest fundraiser in The Furniture Makers’ Company’s calendar, will mark 25 years of raising money for the furnishing industry charity in 2019.

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Steinhoff's UK HQ at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
The conglomerate that owns UK beds and furniture chains Bensons for Beds and Harveys has promoted experienced retail industry executive Mark Jackson to CEO of Steinhoff UK.

The CEO of Tempur Sealy International says its direct business is unlikely to grow far beyond 20 percent of total revenue for strategic reasons, with the bedding giant committed to third-party vendors.

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Additional tariffs were due to come into effect March 1, 2019.
President Donald Trump says the United States will delay the implementation of additional tariffs on Chinese-made goods, including finished furniture, after the two countries made "substantial progress" on trade talks.

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The Hastings Sofa Company has launched from a slimmed down part of the large Menzies Road factory.
The fortunes of the Sussex upholstery factory that was the longtime home to Collins and Hayes before the brand was sold to Sofa Brands International are back on an upward curve following the launch of The Hastings Sofa Company.

Flacks Group has confirmed its interest in Laura Ashley but says if it makes an offer it will be for no more than £20 million. Its comments come despite the owners of the business saying they do not wish to sell.

DBC International, the distributor behind the M Line and Wave mattress programmes, is keen to return to the UK market after earlier supply arrangements came to end.

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UK sales believed to be in the hundreds of millions of pounds for Wayfair.
UK sales for home furnishings retailer Wayfair are estimated to have shot past £200 million in 2018 as the ecommerce conglomerate's heavy marketing investment delivered top-line payback.

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Laura Ashley is attracting interest from an investment group
Furniture-to-fashion retail chain Laura Ashley will be the subject of a takeover approach by a Miami based investment company with links to the UK, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

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Retail sales advanced for The Conran Shop.
Majority shareholder Sir Terence Conran has provided seven-figure debt funding to the Conran group, parent to furniture and design retailer The Conran Shop, for the second straight year.

More retailers than not are forecasting volume growth next month according to a new survey by major business group the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

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The retailer closed 16 stores as a result of its CVA.
Beds specialist Mattressman says it is now in a strong position to "weather the economic storms ahead" after it downsized via a CVA last year when tough trading and the loss of data combined to force a restructure.

Upholstery vertical Sofa.com is planning to open its first physical retail space in Ireland, lending weight to theories its new owner bought the business to bolster its concession presence.

A proposed tax designed to level the playing field between store-based and online retailers could disproportionately impact retailers of upholstery, cabinet, carpets and mattresses.

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How the Loom Loft is planned to look.
Loom Loft, a new purpose-built furniture and interiors superstore in the Ribble Valley, is slated to launch this summer.

Retail giant Wren Kitchens, which makes its own products out of vast factories across Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, has become an approved member of BFM, the British Furniture Manufacturers association.

A major Far East upholstered chair maker is planning its first foray into European production with a purpose-built plant in Romania.

One of Britain's largest independent carpet manufacturers was back in the black last year after it shrugged off a "challenging retail environment" and market uncertainty to post near double-digit growth.

The joint administrators of Wesley Barrell have outlined details of their past relationship with the owner of the prepacked upholstery maker and retailer, saying between them they worked on two previous insolvencies he was involved with.

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The owner of Wesley Barrell was also the largest creditor of the business.
The restructure of premium sofa maker and retailer Wesley Barrell involved a £20,000 upfront payment with the rest payable over time. Creditors face a shortfall of about £2.5 million.

The National Bed Federation's updated Code of Practice — its third iteration since it launched in 2013 — has been accepted as Assured Advice by trading standards, as the previous two versions were before it.

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Sales of furniture were down double-digit between July 1–December 31, 2018.
Furniture-to-fashion chain Laura Ashley attributed a double-digit slump in big-ticket upholstery, cabinet and bed sales for it sinking to a half-year loss in the 26 weeks to December 31, 2018.

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Upholstery sales were up more than a third, John Lewis said.
Upholstery sales were strong in an otherwise bleak week for John Lewis & Partners home category goods, with the department store mutual posting a sixth straight year-on-year fall.

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Dr Lindsay Browning is Sleep Ambassador for And So To Bed
Dr Lindsay Browning, author of troublesleeping.co.uk, has been appointed Sleep Ambassador at And So To Bed, the UK and international high-end bedding retailer.

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(Left–right) Longtime branch manager Gary King with Glasswells, Haverhill colleagues Linda Rogers, Janet Pead and Rachel Phillips.
Privately-owned home furnishings retailer Glasswells has paid tribute to Gary King, manager of its Haverhill store, with an award for his 40 years of service.

Contract and hotel furniture maker YTM Group has ceased trading after being placed into administration. All 117 employees have been made redundant.

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Wesley Barrell trades from showrooms across the UK
High-end sofa maker and retailer Wesley Barrell has completed its widely-anticipated restructure after the operating company was placed into the hands of administrators earlier this month.

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Headlam bought Rackhams and Garrod Bros last year.
Competitors and other interested parties have been invited to have their say on the takeover of two distributors bought by floorcoverings wholesale giant Headlam last year.

Interior furnishings group Walker Greenbank is to begin a cost saving exercise as it looks to mitigate the impact of weakening UK brand sales on the business.

Working capital increased for West Yorkshire upholstery fabrics supplier J Brown Fabrics in 2017–18 as it ended the period with more cash and inventory than the previous year.

Ashford County Council has paid upwards of £2 million to acquire a property currently housing a large superstore operated by HomePlus Furniture, a four-store independent retailer.

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Beaumont Beds trades from stores across London and southeast England.
Independent specialist retail chain Beaumont Beds has been placed into administration with office holders having already culled a number of its stores on appointment and hired agents to find a buyer for the business.

Victoria, the acquisitive floorcoverings conglomerate, says its South Wales carpet factory will produce higher volumes despite recent headcount reductions, with a new backing line now in full production.

Year-on-year UK sofa retail sales advanced in January, marking a first annual rise for the category in the past eighteen months, though the total was still lower on a two-year basis.

The diversified manufacturing and services group that lists heritage mattress maker Millbrook Beds among its subsidiaries wrote more business in 2017–18 but higher costs weighed on profits.

Pan-European ecommerce furniture retailer Home24 said revenue gains outstripped the markets in which it operates in 2018 with it continuing to move closer to profit.

Appointment completes senior management team, says Natuzzi.

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The sun set on the Fabb Sofas business last June.
PwC, the big-four consultancy firm overseeing the winding down of the now-defunct upholstery chain Fabb Sofas, says its fees might be higher than first anticipated.

Creditors of the heritage rise and recline chair maker AJ Way, which filed for insolvency last autumn, face a potential seven-figure shortfall according to a report by administrators.

Scottish based business posts seven-figure deficit in latest accounts.

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Shipments from Vietnam and China fell over the full year in 2018: Image: Maersk
Wood furniture imports into the UK declined 2.2 percent in December confirming a year-long trend for weaker trade with three of the four biggest source markets for British buyers.

Retailers and importers built mattress stocks at the close of 2018 with the value of foam and sprung units bought in from abroad up by a quarter year-on-year in December.

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Double Olympic gold medal winning rowers Helen Glover and Alex Gregory visited Dreams Buckinghamshire HQ to help launch the partnership.
Bed specialist Dreams will become the first-ever official sleep partner of the British Olympic team, agreeing a partnership for the run up and duration of the Tokyo 2020 games, which begin in July next year.

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Upholstery, particularly leather, was cited as impactful on January's inflation rise.
Retailers held their nerve last month as furniture retail price inflation climbed to a nine-month high in January, driven by shallower discounts.

Any lingering doubts over Sports Direct International's involvement with Sofa.com have been put to bed with details emerging of a credit line agreed between the two parties.

Carpet makers in Belgium — home to some of the world's largest manufacturers in the category — have endured a miserable year for exports to Britain, with December proving to be among the worst months of all.

Sales of home merchandise have fallen for the fifth straight week at John Lewis & Partners despite the department store retailer gaining from what it called the 'Marie Kondo effect.'