Concern over the economy has pushed consumer confidence into negative territory for the first time in 15 months according to GfK, though the appetite for big-ticket spend remains positive.

habitatHomebaseDesigner furniture and home brand Habitat says its circa 80-strong portfolio of mini-Habitat concessions will come out of Homebase stores through 2016.

Buoyant Upholstery added a new factory and took its post-MBO investment into seven figures as it grew its top and bottom lines in the year to end September.

Ekornes is to take its Stressless brand to the NEC for the first time since 2009 after signing to exhibit at the January Furniture Show 2017.

Sofas and carpets retailer ScS has named group sales director Kevin Royal as md as part of a boardroom reshuffle coinciding with the arrival of its new CFO.

DPaylingDFSUpholstery retailer DFS has confirmed the departure of its group retail operations director Dave Payling, who had been with the company since 1989.

Amazon has named the head of its Chinese business as the replacement for UK boss Christopher North, who is leaving at the end of next month.

argosConcessionArgos owner Home Retail Group said its investment in next-day delivery has paid off with furniture one of its stronger-performing categories in 2015–16.

Parker Knoll says its new 100,000sqft Nottinghamshire factory will allow it to increase its production capacity by more than 33 per cent.

Big-ticket furniture sales lifted at John Lewis last week as the department store retailer toiled against tough Fashion comparatives.

ukFurnitureManufacturingThe British consumer market for upholstery is to be among the strongest worldwide over the next three years, according to Milan-based furniture market research consultancy CSIL.

Carpetright CEO Wilf Walsh says its new retail concept pilots are outperforming its legacy store format and will be rolled out across the country.

bhsBHS has been placed into administration but continues to trade. Insolvency firm Duff & Phelps says it is targeting a going concern sale of the retail chain.

THE number of furniture and furnishings industry people and families making The Sunday Times Rich List has increased this year, with 35 making the latest edition.

SHOW organisers have revealed the latest companies to sign to exhibit at this summer’s Manchester Furniture Show including big-name suppliers from home and abroad.

MANAGEMENT at West Midlands manufacturer Ultra Furniture have safeguarded the future of the sofa maker after agreeing a pre-pack administration deal.

HedgEndMORE ex-DFS executives have joined the board of the Kirkham-family backed furniture startup as shareholders put more money in and speculation about its first store solidifies.

FURNITURE retail sales rose year-on-year for the 22nd consecutive month in March though the rate slowed to its weakest since last November.

MATTRESS and divan manufacturer The Shire Bed Company is to produce a line of roll-up mattresses after investing in the expansion of its Yorkshire factory.

franceSTEINHOFF has outlined its interest in acquiring the French mattress factories of bedding group Cauval ahead of a key court date next month.

BED brand Sealy UK will showcase its full product range as it hosts its annual beds exhibition at the Brooklands Museum in Surrey next month.

LOWER costs and improved gross margin helped furniture importer Seconique shrug off falling sales last year, while an exceptional write-off helped statutory profits top £6m.

jdWilliamsHOME shopping retailer N Brown made double-digit sales gains in big-ticket furniture lines as group sales advanced 3.5 per cent to £866.2m in the year to 27th February.

SALES climbed 5.3 per cent for John Lewis last week with upholstery and textiles the standout categories across its Home directorate.

hammondsStoreFitted furniture vertical Hammonds posted its first group profit in six years in 2014–15 as revenue advanced by approaching £9m to record levels.

ONE of UK furniture chain Harveys’ main suppliers expanded its workforce by more than 25 per cent in 2014–15 with the bulk of the new jobs in manufacturing roles.

retailParkStoresRetail parks were the only type of shopping destination to see more shoppers in March, according to stores group the British Retail Consortium.

The Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) will update stakeholders on its Circular Economy project during Clerkenwell Design Week next month.

home24Internet furniture retailer Home24 grew sales by 45.9 per cent in 2015 in a year that saw it treble the amount of money committed to capital projects.

Case goods imports into Britain climbed in February with the growth rate in bedroom shipments outscoring the living and dining category.

Carpet and flooring group Victoria PLC says its has ceased sale talks with the owners of Lano Carpets and is turning its attention to other targets elsewhere.

Chinese furniture importsRising Chinese upholstery shipments powered a double-digit climb in sofa imports into the UK during February according to new Government data.

Bedroom cabinet manufacturer One-Call Furniture has strengthened its management team, naming Paul James as director of sales and marketing.

debenhamsFascDepartment store retailer Debenhams has expanded its credit offer as it looks to re-balance sales across a broader range of categories, including furniture.

Mattress and divan sales climbed by more than a fifth at Harrison Spinks in 2014–15 as the Leeds group invested heavily on job creation and its manufacturing operation.

harveysBensonsCoSteinhoff said its UK retail division broke the £500m sales barrier for the first time in 2014–15, as its Harveys and Bensons for Beds brands made revenue gains.

Owners of privately owned specialist retailer Land of Beds have rewarded their 30-strong staff after they beat internal sales targets by over 8 per cent in 2015.

sMalvPKScott Malvenan is to retire as Sofa Brands International group CEO this summer, with Ian Oliver to take over the role from 1st July.

Year-on-year floorcoverings prices were higher for the first time in over a year in March. Furniture retail price inflation declined.

Dunelm deputy chairman and founding family member Will Adderley is to cut his stake in the retailer, selling 8 million shares held by his investment company WA Capital.

scsFasciaUpholstery and carpets retailer ScS says it will open stores at opposite ends of the UK this year as it looks to build on double-digit revenue growth for the 26 weeks to 23rd January.

UK retail sales flatlined in March according to the British Retail Consortium, but furniture continued to trend upwards against year-earlier levels.

Furniture conglomerate Steinhoff will next year open a major distribution centre near Duisberg to serve customers across Germany and scale ecommerce operations.

andersonsInverWeaker economic conditions in the North East oil and gas sector prompted a first fall in sales since 2009 for major independent home furnisher Andersons of Inverurie.

Lefton’s Furniture Group says it is planning to mark its 70th year of trading with a series of promotions and celebratory events through 2016.

sofologySales advanced 39.5 per cent for upholstery specialist Sofology in 2015 as the retailer made “great strides following a year of transition.”

Ultra Furniture has downsized after losing a major retail contract, but its md says safeguarding the sofa manufacturer’s remaining 120 staff is his number one priority.

Home retailer Dunelm says sales grew 5.9 per cent to £229m in the 13 weeks to 2nd April as it continues to open stores and leverage its online channel.

Incoming Marks & Spencer boss Steve Rowe says “turning around our Clothing and Home business” is his number one priority as he succeeds Marc Bolland as CEO.

The National Bed Federation has announced Marcus Brigstocke as host of its 2016 Bed Show Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony.

FurnitureBarnKiddFurniture retailer Lee Longlands has acquired four of the remaining Furniture Barn stores, which have been trading through administration since last year.

lombok75Lombok CEO Stuart Lewis says the furniture retailer is ready to expand its physical store footprint again and could open more than half a dozen new showrooms by 2020.

Floorcoverings contractor Designer Contracts has made three managerial appointments, including two external hires and a promotion.

Mattress and foam goods supplier The Foam Company has developed a waste management programme for recycling its leftover foam and packaging.

This year’s earlier Easter skewed trading comparisons at John Lewis with Home products particularly affected, the retailer said.

retailParkThe number of home industry insolvencies fell 6.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, though those that did fail left creditors owed in excess of £28m.

barkerStonehouseGuildBarker and Stonehouse will open its second store in southern England after planners granted permission for it to build on brownfield land in Guildford. The Furnishing Report speaks to md James Barker about the project.

natuzziThurrockItalian upholstery giant Natuzzi has invested more than £13 million into its UK retail arm via a rights issue as it looks to build on high growth here last year.

Heritage kitchen manufacturer and supplier Burbidge and Son has achieved FIRA Gold Product Certification for its kitchen frontals.

highStreeMore independent stores opened than closed in 2015 though the net opening rate threatens to turn negative for the first time since records began.

Consumer confidence for major purchases slipped in March but remains ahead of the same month last year, according to research consultancy GfK.

Electricals and Home Technology sales were up nearly a fifth at John Lewis last week with Home also trending up in high single digits.

nextHomeFasciaNext says it will take its total investment in its new furniture warehouse beyond £30m with another sizeable spend ahead of its planned opening this summer.

East of England furniture and home retailer Aldiss posted its highest sales in a decade in the year to 3rd October with profits rising three-fold.

Retail footfall declined over the Bank Holiday weekend but higher online sales made up the shortfall, according to retail consultancy Springboard.

willisGambierFull year profits declined by 68 per cent at Willis & Gambier owner Samson Holding in 2015 as foreign exchange translation negated the impact of rising output.

Furniture prices eased at both the factory gate and retail stores in February, according to inflation data from the Office for National Statistics.

bealesHorshDepartment store retailer Beales has won the backing of creditors who voted in favour of its Company Voluntary Arrangement. One store will still close this summer when its lease expires.

BoConceptBournemouthThe franchised Bournemouth BoConcept store has closed, less than two years since it agreed a Company Voluntary Arrangement with creditors.

NATUZZI FR VERSIONNatuzzi cut its pre-tax deficit in 2015 on production efficiencies, higher sales and a strong performance in the UK, its second largest market after the US.

Net space closure and a shorter trading period hit second half furniture sales at Laura Ashley, but not enough to prevent the retailer from beating its 2014–15 full year total across sofas, beds and cabinet.

Britain’s biggest home improvement and DIY retailer B&Q grew online sales by nearly a third in the year to end January and has built out the number of SKUs available for online reservation.

bhsCreditors of furniture-to-fashion retailer BHS have backed its CVA proposal, securing its near term future and cutting its rent bill across a number of stores.

dfsFascia150Revenue advanced 6.9 per cent to £355.8m at sofa chain DFS in the half to end January as the retailer announced its succession plan to replace longstanding finance director Bill Barnes.

Upholstery chain DFS is to expand its small-format trial. It says a second store with a smaller footprint will open in the South East next month.

Floorcoverings group Victoria PLC says profits will be “materially ahead of consensus market expectations” for its 2015–16 financial year as it made more of synergies from acquisitions.

Exhibition space at the Manchester Furniture Show is selling out faster than in previous years organisers say, with the Main Hall already fully occupied.

Furniture sales climbed in double-digits at John Lewis last week driven by high sales of beds, the department store chain said.

FurnVillageStevenageNational retailer Furniture Village will this weekend open the first of several new stores planned for 2016 as well as relaunching its expanded Tunbridge Wells branch.

Upholstery retailer added its first Scottish showroom with a unit around a mile and half south of Edinburgh city centre, building on English stores at Bath and London.

clelandMcIverCushSales reached £41.2m at Cleland McIver in 2014–15 as the soft furnishings supplier expanded its workforce and made the most of efficiencies.

Organisers have confirmed the dates and venue for the London Fabric 2017 edition and outlined plans to expand the event.

argosConcessionBensons and Harveys owner Steinhoff has ended its interest in Argos owner Home Retail Group, instead pursuing a deal to buy French electronics retailer Darty.

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