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The Upholstered Furniture Market in the United Kingdom

Sales of domestic furniture in the UK increased by 3.0% in 2004. This was followed by a decline of 2.6% in 2005, the first fall for many years. Upholstered furniture currently accounts for 32% of the total market. After several years of growth and similar to the overall furniture segment, upholstered furniture suffered a decline last year, reaching a low of 1570m. Sales are now increasing again and the projections for 2007 are also positive. In real terms the market has grown by 29% since 1995, compared to an increase of 47% in absolute terms.

Sales of settees, fireside, easy and reclining chairs reached 1435m in 2005. These products dominate the upholstered furniture sector with 91% of the total market. Leather finishes continue to capture market share in both volume and value terms. Sales of these products account for 46% in volume terms and 54% in value terms. Cotton fabrics account for most of the rest.

Competition is fierce throughout the industry as witnessed by the demise of the Christie-Tyler group as a major force in the upholstery segment. In addition, several smaller companies have gone into receivership. The main upholstery manufacturer is now Sofa Brands International Ltd, which acquired several companies from the liquidators of Christie-Tyler. The group accounts for around 5-6% of the total market. JDP Furniture Group Ltd is the second largest supplier with around 3-4% of the market.

The emphasis within the furniture industry has moved consistently from manufacturing to retailing. However within the upholstery sector, companies such as DFS, Reids, or Multiyork have combined both functions.

Multiple furnishing outlets including specialist groups such as DFS, ScS, and Land of Leather are the main outlets for upholstered furniture with a 40% share, compared to independent outlets with 19% of total sales. Continuing price competition at the retail level has shaken the market, with the result that several retailers, such as Courts, Allders, Furnitureland went into liquidation.

Imports continue to advance strongly, with supplies from outside the EEC accounting for a growing share. Imported upholstered furniture totalled about 606m in 2005, or for 39% of the total market in value terms. Natuzzi, the large Italian upholstery manufacturer, is a major supplier to the UK with sales of around 40m. Nicoletti and Ekornes are also important foreign suppliers.

Stefan Wille
AKTRIN Furniture Information Center
Business & Research Associates
Web: Upholstered Furniture Market in the United Kingdom

Source: www.articlesbase.com