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Mehmood Pirbhai reveals the sort of design delights CIMC will bring MFS visitors for the wholesaler’s 30th year.

Mark Symes discusses The Great Chair Company’s early days as it makes its MFS debut.

RETAIL Roy Beagent, Minerva, gives an insight into why the independent buying group is so important.

first issue: 1st July 1880 13th july 2018 £3.75 l






Chris Manning EDITOR

Dan Squires FEATURE WRITER Sally Gower



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Subscribe online at P&P extra. VAT will be charged where applicable. Refunds on prepaid subscriptions will only be provided at the publisher’s discretion. Issue no 6080 published by Information Publications Ltd, Unit 2 E-Space South 26 St Thomas Place, Ely, Cambridge CB7 4EX VAT No: GB 945225521

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Last week highlighted a decline in consumer confidence, particularly in big-ticket purchases, with this week backing up those claims as the latest BDO High Street Sales Tracker indicated that both retail sales and footfall took a hit in June. Total in-store like-for-like sales were down by -1.7% in June from a base of +1.3% for the same month last year, representing a fifth successive month of negative in-store growth and the ninth month in a row where in-store growth has failed to exceed 1%. Focusing on the homewares division of the data, likefor-like sales were down by -2.4% in-store during June compared to a base of +0.5% for June last year. The result also marked the fifth negative in-store month in a row for homeware, with growth failing to exceed 1% since December last year. Not the best of reading but there were some reasons behind the lack of spending and fall in footfall. BDO analysts stated that the weather and World Cup played big parts in June’s figures across the high street, retail parks and shopping centres. That being said, footfall on the high street was up in weeks two and four with a month high of +3.2% coming in week two. However, the final week in June saw footfall in retail parks and shopping centres suffer drops of -3.7% and -5.2% respectively as the World Cup and the sunny weather kept shoppers away. Perhaps it comes as perfect timing for retailers and buyers to escape the minefield of negativity for a few days this month as the Manchester Furniture Show officially kicks off. In fact, show directors are expecting this year to be one of the biggest in terms of both visitors and exhibitors. Pre-registered visitors are up by 24% on last year and include some high profile retailers from Furniture Village, Leekes and DFS to a variety of independents stores who have not visited the show before. Within this week’s editorial is one last look at what to expect to see at the show along with a floor guide to help navigate your route around the stands with ease. The timing also allows a fresh breath of product for visitors to get excited about and perhaps ignite a renewed focus to encourage consumers to spend. And for the manufacturers, it serves as an ideal platform to show off new designs and follow up from the January Furniture Show. Cabinet Maker will be attending the show so make sure you stop us for a chat or if there is any news you want to shout about. This week’s issue also includes the latest insights from Minerva, The Great Chair Company, CIMC, Breasley, Rowico, La-Z-Boy, Vogue, Kindred and Ashley Manor, which are all exhibiting at MFS. All are definitely worth a read before heading to each respective stand. To round off the issue, Nick Chiarelli, director at Future Foundation, takes the Last Word with a consumer focus, offering three key consumer opportunities, each rooted in countering the ‘#Nevernormal mindset’ that has lead to today’s consumer feeling uncertain about the future, let alone actually buying a product. The use of technology is once again mentioned. The digital age is gathering momentum fast within retail and manufacture, which brings an exciting platform for exhibitors at the Manchester Furniture Show to reveal how they are incorporating technology into their business. As always Cabinet Maker will be keeping a watchful eye on emerging trends and looks forward to seeing you at the show.

Dan Squires Editor

ISSN: 0964-4199 Registered as a Newspaper at the Post Office.

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As the Manchester Furniture Show begins, Cabinet Maker takes one last look at what to expect as well as providing a guide around the stands.




Roy Beagent, group business manager at Minerva, gives an insight as to why the independent buying group is important for independents.




Mark Symes, commercial director for The Great Chair Company, discusses the company’s early days as it makes its debut at the Manchester Furniture Show.



Sales director Mehmood Pirbhai reveals the sort of design delights the CIMC stand will bring MFS visitors for the wholesaler’s 30th year in business.



Co-managing director Darren Crowshaw fills Cabinet Maker in on Breasley’s decision to exhibit at the Manchester Furniture Show for the first time.



Contemporary freestanding furniture makers Rowico reveal what’s in store for their Manchester Furniture Show 2018 stand.




Taking a short break from preparations for the Manchester Furniture Show, marketing director of La-Z-Boy UK, Mark Draper caught up with Cabinet Maker to talk all things new with the company.



Cabinet Maker catches up with Vogue Beds managing director Ebrahim Patel on exciting new products for the Manchester Furniture Show.



New face of fitted bedrooms, Kindred Living, reveals its story what visitors can expect to find on the stand at the Manchester Furniture Show.



David Lee, Ashley Manor CEO, talks about where it all began, the journey and next steps for the future as he prepares to depart after 25 years at the company.



The British Furniture Confederation (BFC) has recently published its second Manifesto.



Nick Chiarelli, director at Future Foundation, has the Last Word.




NEWS IN BRIEF Logistics acquisition

New BIID President


Potential new store

Logistics business Eddie Stobart has entered into an agreement to acquire the entire issued share capital of pallet distribution firm TPN for a sum of up to £52.8m. The acquisition significantly enhances Eddie Stobart’s existing skills and capabilities, including meeting customer requirements for smaller load deliveries.

The international trade fair for woodworking, furniture and flooring, MEDEX, has been cancelled due to unexpected changes resulting from the current political conditions in Iran. The event was set to take place from 10-13 July 2018 at the Permanent Fair Ground in Tehran.

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has confirmed the handover of its new president Gilly Craft, who takes over from Charles Leon. Gilly is a long standing member of the BIID council, as well as working with members to ensure BIID Registered Interior Designers are fully informed and qualified.

Discount homewares retailer B&M has confirmed plans to open a store in Skelmersdale town centre. As part of proposed plans from developer St Modwen, B&M has secured a deal to open a 20,000sq ft store at the retail development, creating 50 jobs.

Social Space Crew


Office furniture specialist Dams has extended its range of Crew multi-purpose tables and seating options from their Social Spaces portfolio, which now includes solid wood frames stained in a choice of three colours. Crew features over 45 unique product designs for breakout areas and interiors within commercial environments.

Interior fit out specialist SIG plc has announced the disposal of its fixings and fasteners business VJ Technology for around £30m to private equity investment firm Primary Capital. The divestment is in line with SIG’s strategy of disposing of smaller, noncore businesses in order to strengthen its balance sheet.

6 | 13th July 2018


ACID announces new BDF partnership Anti Copying in Design (ACID) has announced a new partnership with The British Design Fund, the investment fund for UK product design and manufacturing start-ups. The partnership will see joint promotion of each other’s organisations, joint events and general sharing and support of initiatives. The British Design Fund supports enterprise and innovation in the UK by investing in, and supporting, early stage, well designed, product businesses. The Fund works with extraordinary entrepreneurs with scalable products who are ready to accelerate growth and build long term value and thriving stand-out businesses. John Mathers, design director of the Fund commented: “I have worked with Dids Macdonald, CEO, for ma,ny years, particularly during my time at Design Council. I have a huge respect for what she and the ACID organisation have achieved and the increasing awareness that has been achieved of the importance of protecting great ideas. “I look forward to working together to continue that promotion and to working together to achieve an aim we both have in common – supporting enterprise and innovation in the UK by investing in, and supporting, early stage, well designed product ideas.” ACID CEO Dids Macdonald, added: “I’m delighted to be partnering with the British Design Fund and to have been appointed as one of their mentors to help and advise those companies which have become part of the Fund’s family. “It is great to see an organisation which very much believes in the importance of properly protecting new ideas and developing proper planning around that.”



Independent reopens store Independent furniture retailer Alan Ward has reopened its showroom in Winsford following a refurbishment. Alan Ward’s furniture store on the Wharton Retail Park underwent a major renovation to create an open plan environment to allow customers to see how furniture will look in their homes. The store officially reopened on 25 June 2018 with Winford’s new Mayor Cllr Gina Lewis and town crier Ben Booth declaring the store open with branch manager Stan Kramarczyk. Commenting on the launch the company said that the opening has ‘attracted lots of attention’. The revamp forms part of its strategy to grow turnover beyond the £20m mark by 2020, with the company reporting sales of £16.4m in its 2017 results. Established in 1970, the Alan Ward trades from three other retail stores in Shrewsbury, Chester, and Newcastle-Under-Lyme.


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Bensons performing strong as Harveys gets support

Argos sales up as merger proposal gets financial backing

The UK furniture arm of Steinhoff International has reported an operating loss of more than €30m. According to its half-year report 2018, Steinhoff’s UK Household Goods business, which includes Bensons for Beds and Harveys, saw sales slip by 6% to €339m from €360m compared to the same period in 2017. Like-for-like revenue declined by 0.5%. EBITDA resulted at a loss of €19m, widening from €2m, whilst operating losses stood at €31m, more than doubling from its loss of €14m against the same period last year. Steinhoff said that its bedding division, Bensons for Beds, reported a ‘strong performance’ although Harveys saw a decline in trading and was ‘loss-making’. In a statement Steinhoff said: “During the period under review, Bensons for Beds managed to maintain margin, in-store customer conversion and online sales. “In addition, its store portfolio rationalisation programme continued to be successful (trading from 13 fewer stores compared to the comparative period).” Steinhoff added that the household goods division incurred one-off professional fees relating to the liquidity crisis amounting to €2m. The group said it has implemented various initiatives to support the Harveys business, with plans including to establish a new senior leadership team, a new marketing campaign and a focus on efficiencies and cost savings.



FURNITURE BUSINESS COMPLETES MBO Furniture specialist Paramount Interiors has completed a management buyout (MBO) following new funding. Advisers Verde Corporate Finance and Greenaway Scott provided support on the MBO with the transaction funds backed by ABN Amro and investment from GS Ventures. Paramount’s managing director Richard Jones, who took over the role at the end of 2017, led the management team on the buyout, whilst previous owner Nigel Roberts is 8 | 13th July 2018

to remain involved as the nonexecutive chairman. Following the buyout, Paramount now intends to build on its previous success with plans to expand into new markets in the future. Commenting in a press statement on the MBO, Richard said it allows the company to ‘invest further in our people, our facilities and the service’ to ensure it continues to be ‘one of the best in our field’.


Homewares catalogue retailer Argos has reported a growth in both online and in store sales. Detailed in Sainsbury’s latest trading update, first quarter sales within its General Merchandise division were up 1.7%. Argos online sales, including mobile sales, grew 12%, whilst Fast Track collection grew by 21% and Fast Track delivery grew by 20%. Argos stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets have grown sales by an average of 15% in their second year of trading. The group opened 37 Argos stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets, bringing the total to 228. 18 of the 37 stores replaced an existing Argos store, taking the total number of replacement stores to 84. Sainsbury’s added that it expects to open around 90 Argos stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the 2018/19 financial year, which will take the total to around 280. The supermarket group also revealed that it has secured a finance package of £3.5bn in relation to the proposed merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda. Mike Coupe, group chief executive of J Sainsbury plc, said: “I am pleased with our progress in the quarter. General Merchandise and Clothing, including Argos, continue to outperform a very challenging market and we are well placed to further grow market share. “Argos stores in Sainsbury’s supermarkets continue to grow, Fast Track sales were strong and we have now launched Tu clothing on the Argos website, a key strategic milestone. “The market remains competitive. However, we have the right strategy in place and our proposal to combine Sainsbury’s and Asda will create a dynamic new player in UK retail, with the scale to give customers more of what they want today and create a more resilient and adaptable business for the future. “We have successfully agreed a financing package of £3.5bn in relation to the proposed combination. The financing has been raised on attractive terms, reflecting the confidence of the lending banks in the outlook for the proposed combined business.”


R I S I N G C O S T S I M PA C T S F A B R I C S U P P L I E R Northern Ireland-based mattress ticking manufacturer and printed fabrics supplier R.A. Irwin has reported a slight growth in sales. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 30 September 2017, total sales rose 0.4% to £8.96m from £8.92m in 2016. The company saw pre-tax profit slip into the red to a loss of £473,947, compared to its profit of £644,800 registered last year. Year-end cash resulted at £1m, down from £1.3m in 2016,

whilst raw material costs rose 15.7% to £4.4m from £3.8m the previous year. Stated within its report, R.A. Irwin said that volatile currency movements, stock writedowns and the continued rise in the cost of doing business impacted its bottom line. R A Irwin was established back in 1951 and currently operates out of its factories in Donaghcloney and Portadown.







15-17 JULY 2018


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Bed linen business to partner design conference

Boxed mattress brand awarded Best Buy status

The British Institute of Interior Design (BIID) has announced that bed linen business Tradelinens as its Conference Partner for Inside Knowledge 2018: The BIID Business Success Conference. The conference will take place on 8 November 2018 at 30 Euston Square in London and will feature talks from a range of experts in the sector to provide designers with invaluable knowledge and practical sessions to support them in their businesses. The day will feature a series of thought-provoking and inspirational presentations, panel discussions and ‘success stories’, focussing on key strategies and career turning points. Commenting on the announcement, Rebecca Dukes, head of Tradelinens Boutique said: “The BIID 2018 Conference is set to be an inspirational event and one that Tradelinens is proud to be associated with. “We are thrilled to be an Industry Partner of the BIID supporting the industry in this way and look forward to networking with other sponsors and designers at the event.” Gilly Craft, president of the BIID commented: “We’re delighted to have Tradelinens on board as our Conference Partner for the 2018 Conference. “Without the support of our partners we would be unable to host this industry event, and Tradelinens is particularly fitting with our theme for this year, which aims to inspire designers and help them succeed in their professional careers.”



10 | 13th July 2018





Kitchen furniture design and manufacturing group Omega Plc has reported a sixth consecutive year of turnover growth as sales surged past £50m. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 31 December 2017, total sales rose 15.8% to £51.2m from £44.2m in 2016, its highest sales achieved in a decade. Gross profit also increased by12.4x% to £19.9m from £17.7m, whilst pre-tax profit resulted at £5.8m compared to its profit of £5.2m recorded in the previous year.

Boxed bed brand Emma Mattress has been recognised with a Which? Best Buy award. Part of Bettzeit group, Emma Mattress, which launched in the UK in January 2017, has seen its ‘Original mattress’ awarded a Which? Best Buy accolade, its second following the Emma Hybrid picking up a Which? Best Buy in 2017. Max Laarmann, founder and CEO of Emma Mattress, said: “The Which? Awards are well respected due to their independent nature and their highly rigorous testing procedures. “So, to have received a Best Buy for our mattress for the second year running is testament to the philosophy Emma was founded on; by putting the customer at the centre of your product development and continually improving it based on their feedback, you can deliver a high quality mattress that continually exceeds expectations.” The mattresses were tested to identify which performed best across a number of categories, including durability, body support and stabilisation, as well as being paired with impartial consumer focus group research around their expectations for each mattress.

Profits marked a return to growth by 11.5% following the previous drop from £7.8m in 2015. Stated within its report, Doncaster-based Omega said that investments have continued in the year to generate growth. The group, which consists of the Sheraton, Mackintosh, Chippendale and English Rose brands, said that it plans to implement future investments to meet ‘increasing demand’.


Office furniture manufacturer Dams has reported a growth in sales as turnover edged closer to £40m. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 30 September 2017, total sales rose 9.8% to £39.1m from £35.6m in 2016. UK sales, its largest market, increased 10.7% to £38.7m from £35m, although sales in the EU and outside the EU both registered a decline by 11.3% to £250,377 from £282,170 and by 15.9% to £238,762 from £283,386 respectively. Gross profit experienced a decline of 3.1% to £9.2m from £9.5m, whilst pre-tax profit resulted at £4.3m, down by

17.3% compared to its profit of £5.2m recorded last year. Raw material costs increased during the year by 61% to just over £1m from £620,000, which contributed to the businesses reduction in profits as stated above. Detailed within its strategic report, Dams said that investments were made to the company’s infrastructure to further increase its production capacity. The business also expanded its upholstery department with the introduction of its Social Spaces brand of made to order furniture.



eve partners with Dreams; CEO steps down

Mattress-in-a-box brand eve Sleep has confirmed that its CEO has left the business as management admits ‘strategic missteps’. Detailed in its latest trading update for the six months ended 30 June 2018, eve said that group sales were up by 61% to £18.6m, with UK & Ireland sales up 62% and international sales up 60%. Despite the sales growth, eve said that trading patterns during the period have ‘experienced greater volatility that originally expected’ as the company plans to refocus its strategy. In a statement, the company said: “Management has made some strategic missteps, underestimating what is required to develop a meaningful footprint across Continental Europe, while losing focus on creating an aspirational sleep brand in its core markets. “In response to the first half trading performance and the challenging retail environment, the Company has decided to refocus its strategy, from scaling across multiple new countries to prioritising greater penetration in its core growth markets. “This will enable eve to focus on its key strengths around customer experience, product differentiation and brand. An evaluation of each of our existing European markets is underway to determine those that are core.” As part of this strategy, the brand has formed a partnership with beds retailer Dreams, which will the eve mattress sold nationwide in 193 Dreams stores and through its website. The partnership, which is a first for Dreams with a mattress in a box brand, is expected to expand to include sales of ancillary products such as pillows, toppers and linens, with the rollout across the estate to take just two weeks and commences immediately. The deal increases eve’s retail presence across its three largest markets to 331 stores, building on the Company’s existing partnerships with Next Home, Fenwick and Debenhams in the UK, Karstadt in Germany and BUT in France. eve Sleep also confirmed that CEO and founder Jas Bagniewski has left the company by mutual consent with the search for his replacement underway. As an interim measure Abid Ismail will assume the responsibility of acting CEO in addition to his duties as chief financial officer. Paul Pindar, chairman of eve Sleep commented: “We have fallen short of our own and the market’s high expectations and as a result have taken the tough decision to make management change. Jas has, as one of the founders, been a driving force for this business and has much to be proud of. He leaves with the Board’s best wishes for the future. “While we do not anticipate a near term improvement in the external environment, we have a healthy net cash position, our trading continues to far outstrip that of the market and should be underpinned by Company growth initiatives including the Dreams partnership. We remain convinced that the sleep market will continue to transition online, that the opportunity to build a new brand of size and strength is significant and that eve is well placed to achieve this.”


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Brexit vote leads to logistics company collapse

Furniture school announces award winners

‘Less skilled’ drivers saw an increase in accidents at furniture logistics specialist Home & Retail ahead of entering administration. Stephen Goderski and Peter Hart of PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co were appointed as Joint Administrators of European Furniture Promotion Ltd, trading as Home & Retail, on 18 April 2018. Detailed in new documents filed on Companies House, the administrators said that the company was ‘forced to hire less skilled individuals, which led to an increase in accidents’ following the UK’s vote to leave the EU. The company was forced to cease trading when its insurance brokers revoked the businesses insurance cover at the beginning of April 2018. Although the business attempted to provide a solution and find an alternative insurer, it failed to source a provider. The report also indicated that the company debtor book, worth £841,377, is pledged to Pulse Cashflow Finance, which is expected to realise the full amount. Other company secured creditors include its 180 employees, owed a combined sum of more than £150,000. However, a shortfall of £32,000 is to be expected from this amount. Focusing on unsecured creditors, claims total just over £3m, with the HMRC being owed £1.3m and trade claims valuing more than £1m. It is expected that unsecured creditors will suffer a shortfall of the entire figure. In a previous statement upon appointment, Stephen Goderski, Joint Administrator and Partner of PKF Geoffrey Martin & Co, told Cabinet Maker: “European Furniture Promotion is unable to trade profitably as a going concern so we’ve had no choice but to cease operations. “Our focus is to help affected retailers to collect their products as soon as possible so that they can then be passed on to their customers with minimal disruption.”

Five graduating students at the Chippendale International School of Furniture have been awarded special prizes for the craftsmanship and design excellence of their work. The school, in central Scotland, takes students from around the world on 30-week professional courses, with the 2017/18 intake coming from Ireland, New Zealand, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, USA, Singapore, Trinidad & Tobago and the Falkland Islands. Student of the Year was awarded to Honor Dalrymple, from East Lothian, who is a former structural engineer whose training has given her particular design skills. Honor’s work included a cabinet, oak desk and chairs. Students’ Choice of the Year was awarded to Gianluca Caregnato, from near Milan in northern Italy, and who originally studied agriculture at technical school. His signature piece was an art nouveau-inspired desk in oak with walnut veneer. This year saw a public vote at an exhibition of students’ work in Edinburgh, with the Punters’ Prize being awarded to Timothy Low from Singapore. His signature piece was a funfair console-style cabinet. The Best Design Award was won by Isaac Young from Suffolk, who designed a drinks cabinet, complete with a complex opening mechanism. The Best Portfolio Award was won by Darren Christie, a qualified zoologist from the Falkland Islands, whose work included an elm and fumed oak jewellery box. The Richard Demarco Prize 2018 was awarded to John Grillo, a former business intelligence analyst from Denver, Colorado, for his round dining table. Lastly, The Chippendale Society Award, given this year to mark the 300th birthday of Thomas Chippendale, was won by Vanessa Johnston from Seattle for her wych elm and olive ash furniture collection. Anselm Fraser, school principal, who presented the awards, said: “Each year the quality of our students’ work seems to get better and better and this year has been no exception.”






Fire destroys homewares store

Contemporary furniture manufacturer Benchmark has reported a growth in both sales and profits. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017, total sales rose 5.7% to £5.5m from £5.2m in 2016. Gross profit also increased 15.9% to £2.9m from £2.5m, whilst pre-tax profit resulted at £188,434, up by 189.2% and almost trebling from its 14 | 13th July 2018

profit of £65,461 recorded the previous year. Year-end cash stood at £760,647, increasing from £558,584 on 2016. Established in 1986, the Hungerford-based business specialises in the manufacture of furniture for both commercial and residential projects in the UK and around the world.


A discount furniture and homewares store in London has been destroyed following a fire. Fifteen fire engines and 97 firefighters and officers were called to a fire at the Welling Home Store on Welling High Street on 21 June 2018. The London Fire Brigade attended the scene at 4pm after receiving 18 calls from the public about the fire. Fire crews from Bexley, Plumstead, Erith, Sidcup and surrounding stations were at the scene. Half of the shop on the ground floor as well as a small part of a flat on the first floor were destroyed by the blaze. A statement from the London Fire Brigade said: “One man was treated at the scene by London Ambulance Service. The Brigade was called at 1600 and the incident was under control by 1938. The cause of the fire is under investigation.”


CABINET MAKER AD JULY 6 2018.qxp_Layout 1 7/4/18 11:55 AM Page 1

Sealy beds are handmade in the heart of Cumbria, on the edge of the Lake District. When you create something in such beautiful surroundings, it’s a constant reminder that you want things to stay that way. In the UK, we currently produce over 200 million tonnes of rubbish each year. This includes everything from commercial and industrial to household waste but only a percentage of this is recovered – the rest is sent to landfill. The impact in dumping everything into landfill areas is evident; air pollution, ground water pollution, soil and land pollution, landfill fires, financial costs and of course, health implications. So what does ‘Zero to Landfill’ actually mean? The ultimate aim of this philosophy is to prevent any waste material produced within an organisation going to landfill, which in turn offers a more sustainable route to resourcing for future generations. At Sealy, we have been making positive steps to change that over the past decade. Ten years ago only 15% of the waste produced in the production of our beds was either recycled or sent to energy recovery. Today, we are Zero to Landfill from site. Our goal is to make our nation ‘Deeper Sleepers.’ We believe that, along with our beds containing state of the art technology and unsurpassed comfort, the knowledge that your bed has been manufactured under a Zero to Landfill policy will help you rest a little easier.





Specialist furniture supplier Environmental Street Furniture (ESF) has announced the opening of its debut office in the USA. ESF, which is based in Antrim, Northern Ireland, and exports to 22 countries across five continents, opened its first US office in Washington as well as launching its Stellar Solar Smart Bench in New York City simultaneously. The decision to open an American office follows numerous successful contracts in the themed entertainment industry in North America as well as forming the next stage of the businesses growth. Alan Lowry, managing director of ESF said: “Throughout our five years in business we have established ESF as a reputable supplier of street furniture, themed furniture and solar powered products, initially within the UK, before expanding into

United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited testing house, FIRA International, has received an extension to their UKAS scope to now include high chairs. Previous to the extension, FIRA International had the expertise and equipment to test high chair products (for safety, durability, stability and flammability), but it was outside of their existing UKAS scope. As the UK’s National Accreditation Body, UKAS are responsible for determining, in the public interest, the technical competence and integrity of organisations such as FIRA International who offer testing services. BS EN 14988: 2017 Children’s High Chairs - requirements and test methods is the current standard for high chairs. Published in 2017, the standard

the global market. “During that time, we have experienced significant growth – our export sales increased to 30% in 2016-2017 and we forecast this growth to increase even further in the years ahead given the appetite for our products. “We want to ensure we continue providing our customers with an unrivalled service and feel that by establishing an office in America, we will be better placed to achieve this goal. “There is a lot of potential within the American market, especially for our themed and solar powered products and we felt this was the right time to build this market.” ESF received consultancy support from Invest Northern Ireland.



Fire causes roof collapse at furniture retailer

Furniture retailer Oka has suffered a fire at its store in Saffron Walden. Five crews from the Essex County Fire & Rescue Service attended the scene on 29 June 2018 at around 3pm after a fire broke out at the store on Church Street. The blaze ripped through the roof of the three-story building, which led to parts of the roof collapsing before spreading to adjoining flat. The street was closed so firefighters could get the blaze under control, which was eventually scaled down three hours later. A statement from the fire service said: “The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage. An investigation will be carried out.” Oka also stated: “Due to fire damage at our premises in Saffron Walden, the store will be closed until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the closure and if you have any queries please contact our customer service team on 03330 042 042.”

w 16 | 13th July 2018

replaced the previous 2012 version and it covers all aspects of safety and accident prevention for high chairs. Alongside announcing the extension to scope, FIRA International also confirmed they passed their annual UKAS satellite audit which took place earlier this year in May. The assessment report highlighted that “the success of this lab is clearly the knowledge, experience and competence of its technical team who are very experienced individuals that have been with the business for many years and understand the testing requirements”. To ensure this high standard continues, and in line with UKAS procedures, FIRA International will be subject to their next surveillance audit in May 2019.



RELOCATION MOVE IMPACTS PROFIT AT WHOLESALER Furniture wholesale and supply business Bentley Designs UK has reported a second straight year of declining sales. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 30 September 2017, total sales fell 2.9% to £26.2m from £27m in 2016, with its core market of the UK the main driver behind the fall in revenue. Total UK sales stood at £23.4m, down 5.2% from £24.7m last year. However, sales from the EU rose 23.8% to £2.6m from £2.1m, as did sales from outside the EU, up by 22.8% to £102,083 from £83,475 year-on-year. Gross profit also experienced a decline by 11% to £4m from

£4.5m, whilst pre-tax profit slipped into the red, resulting at a loss of £450,563 compared to its profit of £18,079 recorded last year. Stated within its report, the business said that it had terminated its lease of its premises in Greenford, London, to move to a larger new warehouse in Bicester, Oxfordshire – owned by a related company. This process incurred exceptional costs, which totalled £346,978. Bentley added that it had also suffered a loss of £198,296 on its forward currency contracts.


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Flooring retailer to invest in digital strategy

British adjustable bed and upholstery manufacturer Furmanac has announced the appointment of Stuart Page as its new sales director. Officially joining the business on 9 July 2018, Stuart will work closely with managing director John Hilliard. Having previously been at Relyon, Millbrook and most recently Dreamworks, Stuart brings a huge wealth of experience into his new role. Commenting on his appointment, John said: “I am personally very excited

at the prospect of working closely with Stuart who is very well know and highly regarded in our industry.” Stuart added: “I’m really excited to be joining Furmanac. They are an exciting and passionate company and I’m looking forward to being part of the team. “There is a lot of change within the industry at the moment and I believe Furmanac are well positioned to go from strength to strength.”



Furniture mobility business wins national award Yorkshire-based furniture business Rise Furniture and Mobility of Harrogate has been recognised with a national award. Rise Furniture and Mobility of Harrogate has been named ‘National Retail Business of the Year’ at the Best New Business Awards in London’s West End. Combining over 30 years industry experience, Rise is the brainchild of Harrogate businessman, Carl Drake and his wife Angel. The husband and wife team, decided to open their first Mobility showroom after becoming frustrated by their own first hand experience of the UK mobility market, struggling to find quality mobility products and daily living aids for their own parents. The company was also named as runner up in the ‘Best Website’ category. Commenting on the award, owner Carl Drake said: “I’m absolutely over the moon with the award. Being shortlisted as one of the top four retailers in the country was an achievement in itself, so to win the category against much larger and more established businesses, is a dream come true. “It’s very satisfying knowing our products are changing people’s lives, helping them maintain their independence to enjoy life at home for longer.”

w 20 | 13th July 2018

Flooring and beds retailer Carpetright has revealed plans to invest in its digital strategy. Detailed within its full year results announcement, which saw sales decline by 3% to £443.8m and profits dive into the red with a pre-tax loss of £70.5m, Carpetright said that online is ‘key to the business in the short and medium term’. The company plans to improve its website and navigation by increasing marketing spend on search engine optimisation, pay per click and video on demand. Carpetright said that these formats are ‘rapidly taking over from the decline in traditional press consumption and this trend is across all demographic groups’. Furthermore, the retailer plans to improve its instore experience by using digital technology and consolidating the benefits on its new online platform and system change to Microsoft Dynamics 365. Using AI, the business plans to deliver customer service automation with personalised content. Finally, Carpetright said it has acknowledged the fact that some customers will not want to visit a store and that it has ensured its website meets the demands of the digital consumer. Wilf Walsh, chief executive, said in the strategic report: “Online is key to this business in the short and medium term. The sad demise this year of a number of traditional retailers is partially down to the fact that they were not “Amazon proof” and most of the products they sell could be chosen online and delivered to the home the next day. “While choosing floor coverings is not such an easy sell online we are not being complacent.”



WHOLESALER CONTINUES TO GROW SALES BEYOND £50M Furniture wholesaler Coach House has reported a fifth successive rise in turnover as sales maintained growth past £50m. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 30 September 2017, total sales rose 5.2% to £53.7m from £51m in 2016. UK sales, the company’s core market, reported a growth of 3.8% to £48.6m from £46.8m, as did sales from the EU, up by 17.6% to £4m from £3.4m last year. Sales from outside the EU also

increased by 34.7% to £1m from £742,456 year-on-year. Gross profit fell by 8.6% to £20.1m from £22m, whilst pretax profit resulted at £10.6m, down by 19% from £13.2m recorded the previous year. Stated within its report, the group said that its gross profit margin had fallen to 37.2% from 43.2% in 2016. The Altham-based business houses a 25,000sq ft dedicated themed showroom in Lancashire.


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New furniture platform supports British design

Fife-headquartered furniture manufacturer Havelock Europa has been bought out of administration, saving over 300 jobs. Graham Frost and Toby Underwood, both of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, were appointed as administrators to the company on 3 July 2018. The business was then immediately sold through a prepack administration process to Havelock International, a new firm established by turnaround specialist Rcapital. Upon the appointment, administrators confirmed that the business is still trading. Havelock’s future came under threat after the business suffered a decline in order, prompting the company to file a notice of its intention to begin insolvency proceedings last week. It is understood that all employees have now been transferred to the new company and that no redundancies are expected to take place, whilst the management team will also remain in place. In a joint statement, both Rcapital and Havelock said that the management team would

work in partnership with Rcapital to restructure and invest in the business. A key focus will be to ensure that all customer projects are completed in full, the delivery of innovative design, manufacturing and supply arrangements. Shaun Ormrod, chief executive of Havelock said: “We have been exploring a range of long-term funding options for the business over the past few months to ensure that we are financially strong for the future. “The team at Rcapital have the expertise to help us take the business forward, driving performance and delivering results. I want to thank our employees, customers suppliers and stakeholders for their ongoing support during this time.” Josie Richardson, director at Rcapital said: “The underlying Havelock business is strong and provides refits for some of the UK’s best-known high street brands. We fully support the management and operational teams and will work with them to ensure the best possible customer service and sustainable growth.”



22 | 13th July 2018



Homewares down in June

application demonstrates the Mark’s growing reputation across the furniture industry. The auditors were impressed by Rivelin’s dedication to new product development and innovation.

Homeware sales were down on the high street for a fifth straight month as overall sales in June fell. According to the latest BDO High Street Sales Tracker, total instore like-for-like sales were down by -1.7% in June from a base of +1.3% for the same month last year. The result marked the fifth successive month of negative in-store growth and the ninth month in a row where in-store growth has failed to exceed 1%. Homeware like-for-like sales were down by -2.4% in-store during June compared to a base of +0.5% for June last year. The result marked the fifth negative in-store month in a row, with growth failing to exceed 1% since December last year.



OUTDOOR FURNITURE FIRM RECEIVES MGM Luxury outdoor furniture firm Rivelin has been recognised with a Manufacturing Guild Mark from The Furniture Makers’ Company. Rivelin is currently the only outdoor furniture manufacturer that holds the Manufacturing Guild Mark and its recent

A new online furniture business has launched aiming to serve as a platform to promote British design. The British Design Shop unites the artistry of the most talented British designers, with the skills of the best local craftsmen and women. Having worked in the furniture industry for many years, marketeer Nick Powell came up with the first idea for the British Design Shop after talking with leading designers and local makers who were frustrated by the lack representation for locally made high quality furniture online. Nick explained: “The online furniture market is currently dominated by companies who are buying container loads of mass produced products offshore and then labelling it as unique highquality designer product. “Alongside this, they adopt a sales tactic of inflating retail prices and then offering permanent price discounts alongside, to give the impression of high quality designer product at a discount. “The real supply chain opportunity in my opinion has been missed and that is really connecting local buyers with high quality locally made and designed products.” After several months of research, planning and development, the British Design Shop was officially formed in 2017 by four British business people in Warwick. Each of the four directors brings a wealth of experience in furniture manufacturing, design and marketing to British Design Shop and are on a mission to get people to buy locally sourced products. Carsten Astheimer of Astheimer Design, founder and lead designer at the British Design Shop, said: “There is something individual about all of us. Between us we can take a new design from concept to reality within a few weeks. So what we do is utterly straightforward. We combine the benefits of a made to order online furniture retailer, with the best of British design and craftsmanship to create beautifully unique and simply attainable pieces.”

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Homewares retailer gets permission to expand store

Bury-based flooring firm Cormar Carpets has reported a return to sales growth. According to Greenwood & Coope Limited’s latest filed accounts for the year ended 30 September 2017, total sales rose 4.5% to £119.2m from £114m in 2016. UK sales, its core market, registered an increase of 4.6% to £115m from £109.9m, as did sales from the EU, up by 7.8% to £4.1m from £3.8m. However, revenue from outside the EU bucked the trend and reported a decline of 34.3% to £107,000 from £163,000 on last year. Gross profit reported a

decline of 3.2% to £32.7m from £33.8m, whilst pretax profit was also down by 29.2% to £5.8m from £8.2m the previous year. Stated within its report, the company said that it had decided to significantly invest in its operational capability as well as expand its distribution capability to meet customer demands. Cormar also added that due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, raw material costs increased, with yarn a particular component suffering.



Homewares retailer named on Gov wage offenders list

A homewares retailer and lighting supplier have been named and shamed by the Government in its latest minimum wage offenders list. Published this month by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), a total of 239 businesses, which collectively owed £1.44m in arrears, failed to pay 22,400 workers the correct minimum wage rates. The back pay identified by HMRC was for more workers than in any previous single naming list and has generated record fines of £1.97m. The previous list earlier this year included two furniture businesses, Feather & Black and Blaxills, but the current list has seen no furniture-dedicated business named. However, discount homewares brand Home Bargains failed to pay £272,228 to 6,743 workers, with average arrears of £40.37 per worker. Online lighting retailer The Internet Retailer Limited was also named, which failed to pay £1,730 to six workers, with average arrears of £288.44 per worker. Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Our priority is making sure workers know their rights and are getting the pay they worked hard for. Employers who don’t do the right thing face fines as well as being hit with the bill for backpay. “Today’s list serves as a reminder to all employers to check they are getting their workers’ pay right.”

w 24 | 13th July 2018

Furniture and homewares retailer Dunelm has confirmed plans to extend its Hull store. Detailed in a planning application to Hull City Council, the plans feature a 25,000sq ft mezzanine floor to be installed at its Clough Road store. The extra floor, which is set to create 10 new jobs, is to expand Dunelm’s children’s product offering and will host a new range of nursery furniture, bedding and accessories. The council has approved the application, which was submitted in November last year, with works to commence soon. A statement in the planning application said: “As with many other national multiple retail operators, Dunelm want to provide mezzanine floor space at this store in order to display products in a way that their customers have come to expect. “This includes an improved store layout in order to enhance customer experience and to allow for the introduction of extended children’s ranges. “Within a typical store, the largest proportion of floor space is usually given over to bedding, including duvets, pillows and sheets, alongside curtains and kitchenware. “Dunelm also sell furniture ranges, and these product lines have increased in recent years.”



FOAM PRICE S IMPACT PROFIT AT FURNISHINGS SUPPLIER Nottingham-based soft furnishings supplier Leisure Furnishings has reported a fourth straight year of turnover growth. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 30 September 2017, total sales rose by 10.1% to £16.3m from £14.8m in 2016, its best revenue generated since recording £12.2m in 2010. Sales were driven by its core market in the UK, which represented the entire sales figure as revenue from the EU fell from £10,480 to zero. Gross profit experienced an uptick of 4% to £2.6m from £2.5m, although pre-tax profit slipped again to £116,977 from £272,396 reported last year. Detailed within its

report, the company said that profitability had been impacted by increases in raw material costs, largely due to foam chemical prices rising in excess of 20%. Costs of its new premises, Brexit uncertainty and exchange rates also had an affect on company profits. The business stated that its balance sheet remains strong allowing for further new product development to enhance growth moving forward. Leisure Furnishings, which operates from a 130,000sq ft manufacturing facility, supplies soft furnishings, fitted sofas, mattresses and wooden Furniture to the leisure Industry.




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Independent launches following council support

Swedish bed maker launches new store concept

A new independent furniture retailer has launched following support from its local council. Simpson Furniture has launched in a new premises at Church Place in Heywood after Rochdale Borough Council provided a £5,000 grant as well as support on business rates. The company has been given 80% off their business rates during their first year of trading, followed by 50% off in year two and 30% off in year three. Simpson Furniture, owned by Karen and Gary Simpson, sells a variety of items, including rise recliners, Italian leather sofas and mobility beds. The owners have invested heavily in their shop, which was previously vacant, with new windows, tiles and a reconfigured display area, as well as a new entrance. The business also plans to expand its product range into home accessories in the future. Commenting on the launch, Karen, who also runs a furniture business on Bury and Heywood Markets, said: “The cost of running a business is so high, I don’t think we’d have opened the shop if we didn’t have the financial cushion that the council support gave us.”


Swedish bed manufacturer Hästens has announced the opening of its new store in its native Köping. The new 9,000sq ft ‘Sleep Spa Store’ opened on 18 June 2018 and is the first store to feature Hästens’ brand new store concept offer a boutique experience. Each part of the store is designed to engage the senses and help the visitor to discover their own bed preferences. All elements that can interfere with the visitor’s ability to relax and just focus on the bed have been removed. As a result, at Hästens Sleep Spa there are no bedside tables, bed linens or other accessories to distract from the most important concerns when choosing a bed, which the company believes is sensation and comfort. To coincide with the reopening, four new continental beds are to be revealed, which includes the Herlewing, Eala, Maranga and a refined 2000T. Linnea Blank, retail concept designer at Hästens, said: “The Hästens Sleep Spa store is designed to highlight the beds and to create a harmonious atmosphere when searching for the right bed. “We have replaced the old lighting with modern LED technology, and thanks to dim lighting and calm music, the visitor can truly relax. Lay down for a while, you can even take a nap if you want to. “We have used the amazing space and light in the building while creating a private and tranquil environment for our customers. A place where they can try our beds in peace and quiet. Using different types of walls, both closed and open, we have created separate spaces in the otherwise large area.”




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Soft furnishings supplier Cleland McIver has reported a fifth consecutive year of turnover growth, as profit surpassed £2m. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 30 September 2017, total sales rose by 1.6% to £42.3m from £41.6m 2016. Gross profit also experienced an uptick of 16.6% to £9.1m from £7.8m, whilst pre-tax profit resulted at £2.1m, up by 23.5% from £1.7m recorded the previous year. Its profit stated above marked a seventh straight year of continued growth as well as

being its highest bottom line in over a decade. Littleborough-based Cleland McIver, which supplies homewares retail chain Dunelm, said that it was satisfied to maintain growth as well as stating that it had acquired a freehold distribution centre to assist in handling the new business the company has generated for the year ahead. expertise with B.I.G.’s strong financial position, global reach and product lines, to enhance the support we offer to customers in the future.”



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What’s trending so far in 2018?

Online retailer confirms two new store openings

Velvet fabrics and ottoman furniture are two trends that have continued to be popular so far this year. According to new research conducted by Eporta and WGSN, the Interiors Trend Report 2018/19 focuses on the latest home furnishing trends from over 10,000 trade buyers from the past year. Within the furniture category, ottomans and pouffes have proven to be the most searched items on Eporta, whilst bar consoles have grown in popularity over the past six months as consumers view the home as a more social environment. Bench searches have fallen 50%, with the understanding being that this type of furniture is uncomfortable, whilst mirrors continue to be a highly desirable accessory within the home. Looking at fabrics, velvet searches have grown 400% so far this year, reflecting previous trend reports that velvet would be – and is – a key component in 2018. There has also been an increase in demand for suede fabrics, whilst colourful prints and patterns on walls and carpets remain popular. In keeping with colour, red is currently on trend and the most popular, with orange being the fastest growing colour trend in last three months. Yellow is also proving popular as interior spaces become more vibrant. Moving onto materials, marble and glass are ever increasing, as is copper. However, wood remains a key trend with darker hues leading the way so far this year, with a particular product category performing well in dining chairs. Another material that is making progress is rattan, which is set to continue to be popular during the summer months.



WHOLESALER CONTINUES TO GROW PROFIT AND SALES Keighley-based furniture wholesaler Scan-Thors (UK) Ltd has reported a third consecutive year of turnover growth as sales climbed back towards the £30m mark. According to its latest filed accounts for the year ended 30 September 2017, total sales rose 26.6% to £28.5m from £22.5m in 2016. UK sales showed significant growth, up by 36.3% to £24.4m from £17.9m, whilst overseas sales suffered a slight drop by 4.3% to £4.4m from £4.6m. 28 | 13th July 2018

Gross profit climbed 92.3% to £7.5m from £3.9m, whilst pre-tax profit resulted at £4m, a growth of 149% compared to its profit of £1.6m recorded in its previous year. Scan-Thors (UK), the British arm and subsidiary to Danish group Scan-Thors AG, posted an end of year consolidated cash balance of £1.2m, significantly increasing from £307,849 reported in 2016.


Online furniture retailer Loaf has confirmed it will open two new stores this summer. Loaf revealed that the first store – otherwise known as ‘shack’ – will open in late July on Mill Lane in Solihull with the second to launch at the Bygrave Retail Park in St Albans in early September. Both stores will be 5,000sq ft and will feature dedicated mattress testing stations as well as its other products including sofas and furniture. The openings will expand Loaf’s store estate to seven with its other five currently operating in Battersea, Notting Hill, Spitalfields, Guildford and Wilmslow. Charlie Marshall, Loaf’s founder, said: “Solihull is a stone’s throw from Birmingham, the UK’s second largest metropolis. It will be the place to put your feet up in The Midlands and loaf around on our squishy wares. “Our new St Albans Shack is slap bang in the middle of Commuter Shangri-La. Both Shacks have the perfect recipe for a happy life in the slow lane and it’s high time we brought our comfy wares to these areas. We can’t wait to open the doors!”



FURNITURE MANUFACTURER INVESTS IN NEW TECHNOLOGY Yorkshire-based independent furniture and kitchen manufacturer Treske has invested almost a quarter of a million pounds into new technology. With support from the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Treske has invested £200,000 in the purchase and operation of an 5 Axis CNC Router. The new technology will ‘radically improve’ its production process in terms of speed and quality. Treske has also created five new jobs following the investment. The LEP’s Let’s Grow Fund contributed £40,000 towards the investment, which was needed in response to Treske’s rapidly-increasing order book and demand for its bespoke products.

Justin Bartlett, owner and managing director of Treske, said: “This is one of the biggest investments the company has made since it was formed 44 years ago in 1974. It reflects the growing demand for our products from across the United Kingdom and our confidence in the future, which is fuelled by the improving economic climate and the skills and commitment of our staff. “This investment in brandnew machinery, with the support of the LEP, is a resounding endorsement of the progress we have made recently. We are also honoured and delighted that the LEP has seen fit to support our investment as we continue to contribute to the economy of the Vale of York and beyond.”









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Profits plunge into the red at carpet retailer

Furniture business Gallery Direct has announced that Dreamworks Beds will be merged into the company. From 1 August 2018, Dreamworks Beds will be integrated into the Gallery business, with the merger designed to maximise the different skills within the two companies and bring a new bed brand to the market. Peter Delaney, managing director of Gallery Direct, commented: “The integration makes perfect sense. Dreamworks Beds has the manufacturing site and skilled team but has not had the resources to really develop the product offer. A strategic restructure under Gallery will provide that platform with our warehousing, logistics, design and photography, trade show presence and website. “It is a proactive, realignment, keeping the first-class manufacturing skills at Dreamworks Beds and combining it with the sales & marketing and operational efficiencies that Gallery can offer, reducing duplicated costs and putting us in a good position to look after customers’ needs for years to come. “It will benefit both Dreamworks Beds and Gallery customers. For those who already trade with both companies, it will simplify

ordering and invoicing, as everything will be done through Gallery, and for those who only trade with one, it offers a broader catalogue of home interior pieces. “We’d like to reassure Dreamworks Beds customers that we will carry forward the most successful, best-selling popular products and will enhance the offer with a new fabric selection, certain product upgrades as standard, and a new product catalogue that will be ready for the Manchester Show and we will still offer the own label ‘It’s All About You’ mattresses service for clients who prefer to sell under their own brand identity.” The strength of the combined team’s offer and their awardwinning designs will see further innovation and marketing initiatives which will be showcased at the forthcoming Manchester Furniture Show in July, The Bed Show in September, where they will be launching a new range of sofa beds, and the Autumn Furniture Show. As part of the merger, all current Dreamworks Beds area sales managers will be joining the Gallery team and will be on hand for any help and support moving forward.



Swoon to open pop-up

Online furniture retailer Swoon Editions has confirmed it will open a pop-up store in London from 13-28 July 2018. Located in Shoreditch, The Green House space will play host to a series of conceptual room sets by Swoon that will be transformed into a plant-filled concept by online plant shop Patch.

w 32 | 13th July 2018

Flooring and beds retailer Carpetright has reported a decline in sales as profits drop into the red. According to its latest full year results for the 52 weeks ended 28 April 2018, total group sales were down 3% to £443.8m from £457.6m in 2017. UK sales were down 5.4% to £360.4m, whilst the rest of the EU saw revenue growth of 8.9% to £83.4m. UK like-for-like sales were also down by 3.6%, with a decrease of 7.8% in second half of the year offsetting the increase of 0.7% reported for the first half. However, like-for-like sales growth outside the UK rose by 1.2%, albeit at a slower rate compared to 2.5% in 2017. The recent growth was driven by service related income and currency translation. Carpetright recorded a pre-tax loss of £70.5m compared to its profit of £0.9m last year. The business said that the recent publicity surrounding its CVA plan has impacted trading, whilst also revealing that it is planning an extensive brand relaunch in Autumn 2018, aiming to reaffirm its position that it is ‘here to stay’. Carpetright also confirmed that its ‘Sleepright’ brand still has ‘some scope’ but in stores that could accommodate the space for beds. It plans to concentrate on established bed brands as well as announcing plans to launch its ‘Essential Value’ proposition in beds to compete ‘aggressively’ on a ‘cash-generation opportunity’. As part of its CVA, Carpetright is to close 81 stores as previously announced. Detailed in its results, the business revealed that these stores have an average weekly sales figure of £11,500 and do not make any contribution to profits.



B F M R E V E A L N E W O P P O R T U N I T Y AT MFS The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) has confirmed it will once again attend this year’s Manchester Furniture Show. Taking place from 15-17 July 2018 at Manchester Central, the BFM will be offering visitors the chance to see and review the wide range of services it offers at its stand on C92. Jackie Bazeley, managing director and who will be at the show, said: “The BFM has represented the interests of the furniture industry for more

than 65 years, so the exhibition is the perfect platform and opportunity for us to showcase the many benefits that we offer to those involved with the furniture sector. “Plus, hot on the heels of our recent office move to Long Eaton, we’ll be revealing an exciting new opportunity for members.”



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As the Manchester Furniture Show

begins, Cabinet Maker takes one last look at what to expect as well as

providing a guide around the stands. It’s show time! As you read this no doubt you’ll already be roaming between stands at the Manchester Furniture Show or preparing your list of must see brands. While you gather your thoughts on what to see first, next or last, Cabinet Maker brings you another insight to the show with a floor plan so you can navigate with ease around Manchester Central. Fresh off the back from its huge presence during the January Furniture Show, Gallery Direct returns to showcase its latest selection of furniture, upholstery, lighting, mirrors, textiles and accessories ranges. Having the largest display at JFS, Gallery can be found at stand B35. Another brand set to take Manchester by storm is upholstery manufacturer La-ZBoy, which revealed it has taken its largest space ever at the show as it continues to drive brand awareness in what it claims to be an important year for the business. La-Z-Boy can be found on stand C21 and will feature new collections including its new bed and mattress offer as part of its new product category launch. Mark Draper, La-Z-Boy UK marketing director, explains: “This year is an important one for La-Z-Boy UK. Our intensive consumer advertising and TV campaign has helped communicate our brand ethos and personality while establishing a broader customer base. On the back of this we are launching new product categories at the Manchester Furniture Show and have booked our largest and most prominent stand at the event.”

In keeping with upholstery, The Great Chair Company follows on from its own January Furniture Show success to take stand C61 with its collection of vibrant designs. The company is launching new additions to its colourful fabric collections. And just a few stands down at C73, Westbridge Furniture are also displaying fresh new designs, as marketing director, Nicola Bell reveals: “Manchester is a great opportunity to introduce some fresh new fabrics and shapes to our customers and this year is no exception. With at least three new shapes and 30 new fabrics and leathers crossing our Elements and Westbridge ranges, our stand is one you will not want to miss.” Moving onto beds, Vogue can be found at stand E72 and will be showcasing its latest collection of UK-made bedsteads and mattresses by Hampton, Therapy and Helix ranges. Vogue also offers a choice of nine new bedsteads with a variety of storage options including ottomans and a choice of 18 fabrics. Manufacturer and distributor of protective bedding products Protect-a-Bed will also be displaying their latest innovations and can be found on stand E21. Other notable brands that are worth a visit include sofa maker Ashley Manor, situated at Charter 4, Rowico in foyer 1, CIMC on stand E65, bed maker Breasley on stand C65, bedroom furniture supplier Kindred Living on stand A67 and buying group Minerva on stand A68. These are all featured within this issue in more detail so make sure you flick through the pages to find out more information on what each has to offer ahead of visiting their respective stands.



Wholesaler Kettle Interiors will be on stand C40, whilst industry organisations the British Furniture Manufacturers and ACID will also be in attendance on stands C92 and C90 respectively. The Manchester Furniture Show has certainly delivered in attracting big name brands and organisers expect this to lure visitors across the three-day event. In fact, pre-registered visitors were by 24% ahead of the show and included buyers from major UK retail groups and independent stores who have not visited the show before. As much as this is a guide for visitors, for those manufacturers that get a moment to read this, here is a brief list of

Gallery Direct are located at B35 Rowico, foyer 1

“VISITORS WILL BE SPOILT FOR CHOICE AND WE ARE DELIGHTED THAT WE WILL BE GOING OUT ON A HIGH FOR OUR LAST FULL MANCHESTER SHOW IN CHARGE. ” retailers that will be attending the show. Look out for Lee Longlands, Midfurn, Rodger’s of York, Smith’s the Rink, West Lancs Furniture, Bramptons Home Furnishers, Sofas & Beyond, Russell Francis Interiors, ScS, Franks for Furniture, Homestyle Furnishings, Hopewell’s, John Doe of Diss, Lukehursts, Millhouse Furniture, BrandAlley, Rooms of Keighley, Keens (Belfast) & Beadle Crome Interiors. They join a long list of buyers from household names including Furniture Village, Leekes, Cousins, Fenwicks, Buicks of Montrose, Camp Hobson, Connolly’s of Moy, Aldiss and DFS. Cabinet Maker is also part of the visitor list so expect to see us weaving through the stands, soaking up all the latest furniture trends and products. With the date finally upon us, show director Theresa Raymond anticipates a successful event; “We are delighted to see

The Great Chair Company, stand C61

Westbridge, stand C73 such a substantial increase in the pre-reg numbers. It is also very pleasing to see such a long list of buyers from high calibre stores throughout the whole of the British Isles. The addition of MidPoint at Manchester this year

adds extra gravitas to the show, and gives buyers multiple options to select ranges from volume to high-end. We are expecting a show full of interest and energy.”

Vogue Beds, stand E72

Laraine Jane, co-event director, added: “We are anticipating a lively and busy show this year. Visitors will be spoilt for choice and Theresa and I are delighted that we will be going out on a high for our last full Manchester show in charge.” Let the show begin.


CIMC, stands D37, E65 13th July 2018 | 35

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13th July 2018 | 39


INDEPENDENCE Roy Beagent, group business manager at Minerva, gives

Cabinet Maker an

insight as to why the independent buying

group is impor tant for independents.

Independence is key

Minerva stand is located at A68 40 | 13th July 2018

Minera was set up as a buying group for independent retailers in 1990 in response to a gap in the market. Its aim was to provide collective buying power for its members, enabling them to purchase products at lower prices than they would be able to individually thereby helping to increase their profitability, as well as giving networking opportunities. Since then it has improved and evolved, whilst retaining its family-run business ethos and values, becoming a respected furniture industry organisation. It is now a wellestablished proactive independent buying group for furniture retailers in the UK, Channel Islands and Ireland. Membership has increased steadily over the years, and it’s easy to see why – there’s a fantastic range of benefits, for a low-cost membership fee. These include a generous rebate scheme, specially negotiated settlement terms, and access to a great range of products at competitive prices, including exclusives. Members have freedom to operate independently with no compulsory purchases and have full control over their own accounts. These benefits, combined with regional meetings to share information and network, a monthly newsletter to keep members informed of promotional offers and new products, and professional support if needed, make Minerva’s offering hard to resist for independent retailers. To enable members to view products and meet suppliers, each year in May Minerva holds their Furniture and Bed Show. This members-only

event features a great range of products including Minerva exclusive products and special show discounts. The Autumn Furniture Show in October, although hosted by Minerva, is open to all furniture retailers, including non-members, along with contract buyers, interiors and contract specifiers and other professionals associated with the furniture interiors business. Over 90 exhibitors offer a wide range of products, exhibited across two halls, effectively creating a “one stop shop” for furniture and home décor. One of the recent developments from Minerva is the introduction of a second level of membership. As well as full membership which is available to furniture retailers, bed retailers can now take advantage of associate membership. The benefits are the same, except associate members do not receive complimentary accommodation and gala dinner at the two shows which full members are entitled to. Roy Beagent, group business manager, commented: “Minerva has been built upon its founding principles of working for our members, helping them to succeed by giving a genuine commercial offer, whilst letting them retain their independence. We are run by a small team, keeping our costs low, who work closely with an elected board of Directors, themselves all retail members of the group. Our membership schemes are affordable and simple. Members can easily recoup their fee and gain additional margins with the rebates.”




The group was launched back in 1990

Minerva membership keeps growing “But financial benefits aren’t the only incentives for joining Minerva,” continued Roy. “The networking opportunities, sharing of market knowledge and ideas, camaraderie, and willingness to help each other are invaluable, making a real difference for our members.” Minerva’s world-wide supplier base includes many leading furniture brands, and offers a wide range of furniture and beds, to suit different tastes and styles of interior, as well as home décor such as lighting, mirrors, textiles and accessories. Roy told us, “We have a great range of over one hundred suppliers, many of whom we have worked with for years, developing great relationships, but we are continually looking for additional suppliers to widen our product offering, to give members even more choice. If you are a manufacturer or have an interesting product and would like to

work with us, then we would love to hear from you. The Autumn Furniture Show would be a great place to get to know us and our members. As well as our approved suppliers, we also have guest exhibitors, as this gives them the opportunity to see how their product catalogue fits in with our offering and the benefits of being a supplier, so do get in touch if you are interested in exhibiting.” “With our growing membership base, it’s a win-win,” added Roy. “Suppliers get easy access to all our members, especially if they exhibit at the shows, and members are offered a wide and varied range of products, including many exclusives, at competitive prices, along with special promotional offers and excellent service and support.” The ability to strike a balance is a key feature of Minerva’s success. Providing

excellent benefits to members, including competitively priced products, whilst ensuring it is beneficial being an approved supplier, is vital to Minerva’s continued development, as is giving members help and a support network whilst allowing them to maintain their independence. Over the last few years, life has not been easy for independent retailers, due to the huge increase in internet trading and the decline of the high street, and going forwards this trend looks set to continue. Being a member of Minerva can at least help make things a little easier. If you are an independent, and not already a member, why not go along to see them in the Central Hall, Stand A68 at the Manchester Furniture Show, or give them a ring, to find out more about what they have to offer you?

w 13th July 2018 | 41


Mark Symes,

commercial director for The Great

C h a i r C o m p a n y,


talks Cabinet

Maker through the

company’s early days as it makes its debut at the Manchester Fu r n i t u re S h ow.

Tub Chair Hound Dog

The Great Chair Company made its debut at this year’s January Furniture Show, six months on the business prepares itself for the Manchester Furniture Show. Mark Symes, commercial director for The Great Chair Company, explained: “We went to the furniture show in January as a new company looking for our first customers. There we had an amazing reaction unsurpassed in all my years of experience with orders being written in 15 minutes from the show opening, thereafter the week continued with large orders being given and with substantial compliments to our concept and business model. “Key to that success, our customers told us, was the bold choice of fabrics and simplicity in our chair styles. It was a great relief to see the positive response and solid orders come to fruition after six months in the development processes.” Business has certainly been busy at the company with the months that followed JFS proving to generate traction going into two other shows ahead of Manchester. Mark continued: “The months following the show have been incredible. Further success with AIS and Minerva member shows has shown a huge level of commitment. We have gone from a company launch in January to 170 accounts as of today and rapidly growing.”

Wroxton Arley Stripe 42 | 13th July 2018

However, like all businesses, success is not something that is earned without suffering setbacks along the way, or ‘teething problems’ as Mark explains: “It’s fair to say not all went fantastically. We had a couple of teething

problems, our fabric selections were so bold, and our sales volumes exceeded budgets so it took our suppliers a while to catch up to our requirements, which effected stock availability in the short term. But I am delighted to report we are now getting back on track and stocks are fast arriving at our UK warehouse facility.” It’s not just been about the product either at The Great Chair Company. As the company proudly boasts the ‘Great’ behind its product offering, it also revealed that its distribution division shares the ‘Great’ tag too, which has been a key driver in the business’s sharp rise. Mark said: “Our distribution channel is just as much a key to our success as our great products. We deliver at a low cost because our business is shaped to selling and delivering single units. I spent a number of years while out of this trade consulting in the ecommerce sector which frankly is all about logistics, low cost, fulfilment, immediacy and value, and we have put that at the core of our business alongside our great products.” “The success we have experienced by focusing on a niche product and combining it with slick logistics has won us many customers and we believe there are other opportunities in different niche product categories that we can bring great value to!” All of the company’s early success is testament to its extensive and thorough development behind the scenes before launch, whilst also maintaining a philosophy to always have ‘fun with fabric’, put ‘comfort at the core’ and be ‘consistent in quality’.





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Reflecting on its story so far, Mark added: “We spent months on research and development, as well as a significant amount of time in Poland (where its 1,600,000sq ft factory is based) perfecting 12 ranges for January and all of us at the company were extremely excited to be launching what we believe is a truly exceptional offer of accent and dining chairs. The product is the hero, and it’s a great product, but available at an equally great price and speed.” Fast forward to July and the Manchester Furniture Show, The Great Chair Company has no plans to rest on its previous show success as it will launch new ranges during the three day event. Not only that, but Mark revealed that the business is also working on new product categories, which will be unveiled when the time is right. 44 | 13th July 2018

Compton Isla Charcoal

“We have new ranges for the Manchester show, and we are currently working on a number of new product category concepts and will bring them to market as they evolve,” Mark said, continuing: “We have a distinctive product offer with a unique service platform and we are shaped for today’s challenging consumer market where fast fashion and instant gratification are key. It’s tough out there but every day thousands of consumers make home furnishing purchases. Our product is right for today. If all you do is offer the same old products why expect different results? Maybe it’s time for something new and maybe that’s The Great Chair Company?” The Great Chair Company is situated at stand C61 and if their stand is anything like at the January Furniture Show, it will certainly be eyecatching and a ‘Great’ visit.


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DESIGNS OF Sales director

Mehmood Pirbhai

reveals the design delights the CIMC stand will bring

MFS visitors for the wholesaler’s 30th year in business.

Summer 2018 is well and truly underway and the air is full of anticipation. Providing a calm space with a luxurious feel is CIMC Home. The wholesaler, established 30 years ago, boasts an extensive range of interior designs to add glitz and glamour to any retailer’s showroom. Starting out in life with fashion lighting, gifts and interiors in the offering, the company burst onto the furniture scene in 2010, making waves at every trade show event. Never more so than now, with 60 new products in lighting to be launched at the Manchester Furniture Show, the talismanic lighting collections at CIMC are growing every year. Cabinet Maker spoke to sales director Mehmood Pirbhai to find out more about the company’s plans for the MFS. The Leicester-based outfit has been working hard on preparing the layout for the show, inviting customers to see the new products

Apollo 46 | 13th July 2018

and making sure they’ll be attending the Manchester event. CIMC plans to launch its new Infinity Lighting range, designed in-house, along with core best selling furniture ranges and lighting ranges. Predominantly dining tables and lighting, the furniture ranges will certainly be worth getting your teeth into. We asked what Mehmood is most looking forward to launching. “The Infinity Lighting is by far going to be the biggest there. It’s something we’ve designed ourselves and is very relevant for the glamour market. We specialise in glamour. The mirror and glass is a major part of our look and we’re developing new variations of using mirror and glass. We’re very much about creating that glamorous look and mirror and glass lends itself very well to that, so those are the areas of focus.” It’s been a rollercoaster journey for the team, and trade shows are key for manoeuvring its way to the right customers in furniture as the furniture industry is still relatively new to them, says Mehmood. “The MFS is first and foremost about making contact with the furniture industry. It’s really an area where we can keep in touch with existing customers and meet new ones. We bring out about 1000 new products every year, about 500-600 in spring and 400 for the autumn season. We’ll be at the MFS with 150 new products. We’re excited for our existing customers to see our new products and to be able to make connections with a lot of new customers, for them to come and see what we’re all about and showcase ourselves in front of all the potential new furniture stores who will be there.” Having been in the interior design business for three decades, the

FOR FULL STORIE S AND DAILY NE W S UPDATE S: WWW.C ABINE T-MAKER .C O.UK company clearly knows a thing or two about longevity and has taken this straight into the furniture market. “Over the last two or three years we’ve made inroads into the industry through some of the prime retailers such as Fishpools, Barker & Stonehouse, Housing Units, who are some of the big names in the independent furniture industry, and we really want to develop and grow that part of the business to work with more of the independent furniture stores throughout the UK.” Top selling ranges in the furniture offering at CIMC that have been received particularly well by the independents are the Apollo, Marrakech and White Manhattan, all three of which echo their namesakes in design style. With these three leading collections, the furniture side has dominated the company’s growth significantly, giving credence to the notion that this is a

“OF OUR HOME AND INTERIORS PRODUCT SELECTION, FURNITURE IS BY FAR THE DRIVING AREA OF OUR COMPANY. ” business that knows where it wants to go and how to get there. “We’ve seen year on year growth over the last six years,” says Mehmood. “We’ve seen massive growth over the last two years since launching furniture collections at White Manhattan


the MFS in 2016. It’s one of our biggest growth areas and continues to be one of our main focal areas of what we do. Of our home and interiors product selection, furniture is by far the driving area of our company.” When asked whether the company would be doing anything to mark the 30-year milestone this year, Mehmood lamented that there were no plans, although it was “good for people to see that it’s a long established company.” What with being extremely busy working on preparations for the numerous trade shows, and improving the website experience, there’s no time to sit still! The shows must go on and the overall experience is part of that. The business is currently investing in a new IT system to assist with stock controls and a fully integrated website that will come to fruition in mid-2019 as the final decisions on suppliers are made. Mehmood explains: “The website will give our customers a fully integrated portal to see all of our products, the stocks and when the goods are coming in. It will be fully interactive, which will enable customers to fully manage their orders online.” Despite no milestone markers, there is a definite emphasis on the ingredients that make customers keep coming back to CIMC. Mehmood attributes the long-term success to the company’s design ethic. “We as a company are always driven by trying to provide a good customer service. It’s really about looking after all the little things that make a difference to the retailers who have to service their customers. It’s two-fold – one part is bringing in a very good design-led product and the second part is offering that infrastructure and service to the customer.” As for the key to another 30+ years? “Investment in technology for definite. Plus, the ability to make things quicker and easier for the customer, because we recognise now that the demands of the world are changing – everything has to be faster and more efficient. That will be our focus for the future!” The wholesaler currently supports a strong base of strong independent retailers around the country and works 6-12 months in advance to allow for any variation and provide consistency. Speaking of which, the CIMC Home team and its selection of new products can be found at stands D37 and E65 at Manchester Central, or, if you miss them this time, they’ll be at the Autumn Fair 2018 at the NEC from 2–5 September.


w 13th July 2018 | 47


Be There


director Darren Crowshaw fills Cabinet Maker

in on Breasley ’s

decision to exhibit at the Manchester

Furniture Show for the first time.

Co-managing director Darren Crowshaw 48 | 13th July 2018

A successful family business is an incredible achievement, and certainly one to be proud of. As one of the UK’s largest independent foam converters, Breasley is a prime example of what it takes to get to the top and stay firmly embedded in the industry. Its two mattress brands, Uno and Salus, continue to grow and expand, offering their customers everything from vacuum packed products to boxed mattresses and premium pocket sprung collections. Almost 50 years after joint partners Alan Crowshaw and Peter Walker founded Breasley Pillows in 1973, the company is still going strong with brothers and co-managing directors Darren and Mike Crowshaw at the helm alongside Alan as CEO. The brothers are taking Breasley to the Manchester Furniture Show for the first time this year to exhibit the company’s products at the increasingly popular northwest furniture event. Cabinet Maker has been catching up with Darren Crowshaw to get the low down on the decision to exhibit for the first time. It’s a new venture for the Breasley team, he says. “We’re dipping our toe in the water, so to speak, but we are confident that we have made the right decision to attend. The timing is right for us too, with a range of new product launches that visitors will have the opportunity to be the first to see. We have a lot of key customers in and around the Manchester area and the north of England who have been very loyal to Breasley, and we think it’s important to give back the support they have given us over the years. We are very much looking forward to meeting them on their home turf!”

The Derbyshire and Hyde-based outfit will be exhibiting all new products at the upcoming show, including the recently launched Uno Breathe mattress, which is the first boxed model under the Uno vacuum packed brand, and will also be showcasing the Uno Natural Affinity Collection – a range of 3 pocket sprung boxed mattresses featuring wool, silk and cashmere. Says Darren: “We feel that this is a well-balanced range of boxed products, allowing retailers to sell up to the popular online price points.” Manchester visitors will be given a ‘sneak-peek’ at the refreshed Uno vacuum packed pocked mattress range, which is planned for launch in early autumn. “I am also excited to reveal that we will be launching an exclusive partnership with Simba, who will be exhibiting a range of products on our stand,” he continues. “This partnership will involve our UK sales team selling Simba products into a targeted audience of independent retailers.” Breasley has been reaching out to its audience through regular advertising in trade press, continually increasing its social media activity and through a plethora of the industry’s other trade shows – so Manchester will be no different. Darren explains: “Specifically, we want to develop the relationships we have with our existing customers, but, equally, we hope to win new accounts in the area, so it would be nice to speak to them too! Breasley has always supported the major trade shows; this year we have already attended JFS, AIS and Minerva. We are renowned for our innovation and design in the bed market, so they are a great platform for launching new ranges and getting

Who is going to steal the show? You know it’s Uno.


Launch ing our NEW Uno Na tural ran ge at th e Ma

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Uno Breathe can be found on stand C65.

and automation at its Ilkeston plant to help ensure it remains the market leader in rolled, folded and boxed mattresses.

the message across when it comes to new technology. However, we do follow up with our show van, which is constantly out and about up and down the country, meeting customers at times when it suits them best.” Darren and the team are now making final preparations for the NBF Bed Show in September. It’s innovation that’s undoubtedly paying dividends for the business, as growth continues. With two factories in north Derbyshire and one in Hyde, Cheshire, the company reorganised their sales team earlier this year and 250 employees now look after the family business. Darren continues: 50 | 13th July 2018

“We have experienced the boxed mattress market as being very buoyant, and we see significant growth in this sector, which is why we have invested heavily in new products and innovation. We feel that the boxed market isn’t just an online offering and will quickly become a prominent part of the mix for all groups and independent retailers on the high street. We believe our growth has come as a consequence of our comprehensive offering; design, manufacture, warehousing, distribution and a 10-year guarantee whilst maintaining a competitive price.” It’s been so successful, in fact, that this year alone, the business has invested around £1 million in new machinery

So, with this week in particular seeing us on the edge of our seats with both eyes on the prize, Darren’s aim for the MFS is a simple one. “We want to offer the chance to embrace the boxed mattress market: next day delivery, and of course, our fantastic 10-year guarantee on all mattresses and divans. We believe the offering is concise, and simplifies the buying decision for the end consumer.” It certainly seems they’re on the right track. To find out more about the newly launched Uno Breathe mattress, Uno Natural Affinity Collection and the partnership with Simba, find Breasley in Central Hall on stand C65.


Show Van Tour Continues... England, Scotland & Wales

The Furniture Link Show Van has crossed the Irish Sea after a successful stint in Ireland with ASM Phil McClinton and this is what he had to say about it: “The opportunity to see the furniture in person is priceless. Fabulous reaction to all the new ranges. Scores of requests for appointments.”

“It’s great to advertise the brand by having a presence on the road...” The Show Van has now been refitted with samples of Furniture Link’s best-selling and new products and is currently touring in England, Scotland and Wales.

Towards the end of August, the Show Van will be bookable for visits in the Midlands. Call National Sales Manager Simon Gardiner on 07889 106506 or the office on 01952 604960

The second leg of the tour kicks off in Scotland and the North of England with ASM Pam Gill. To make an appointment to see Pam with the Show Van please call her on 07725 431875 Pam hands the keys over to ASM for the South, Lorna Root, on Friday 27th July. Lorna is excited to be bringing our products to her customers. Customers from the South wishing to book a visit can do so by calling Lorna on 07889 809277 To book a Show Van visit, call the office or your ASM today: Simon Gardiner - National Sales Manager - 07889 106506 Pam Gill - North - 07725 431875 Lorna Root - South - 07889 809277 Phil McClinton - Ireland - 07841 338333

Furniture Link, Hortonwood 60, Telford, Shropshire, TF1 7AD T: 01952 604960 E:


THE ART OF Contemporary freestanding

furniture makers

Rowico reveal what’s in store for their

Manchester Furniture Show 2018 stand

Rowico were established in 1971 in Halmstad, Sweden with a focus firmly on unique design, whilst capitalising on market trends and offering immediate stock availability. The business now operates across Europe with offices in 5 countries, Scandinavia, UK, Italy, China and Vietnam. This ensures they offer fabulous service and exceptional quality control in their manufacturing process. A heritage spanning nearly 50 years. Rowico UK are nestled on the edge of the stunning Cotswolds and operate out of an ever-expanding warehouse with the aim of all items being available from stock. Their philosophy is very much beautiful product, outstanding service, and effective pricing which all lead to a happy customer. They are known for their reclaimed rustic and coastal inspired ranges, Rowico’s look has grown, now taking on a more diverse and unique appeal. Picasso Collection

Showcasing a variety of styles including contemporary, classical and more relaxed ranges. Rowico’s ethos is ‘Eat.Sleep.Live… in style’, something which is evident with the most recent collections, Bowood, Tate and Picasso breaking the traditional mould. With 12 living and dining collections and four bedroom ranges the portfolio has significantly expanded in the last two years. The latest strategic development is to significantly expand the dining chair offer, thus allowing even more looks and styles to be created using all products Rowico with 37 different variants and more to come at Manchester. The ethos of the business remains constant and consistent: immediate availability of exceptional quality, beautifully designed cabinet furniture, on time, every time. The Rowico Group remains a family business, focused upon their customers and team, creating a unique culture of commitment and passion. This establishes an environment to allow creativity to flourish and for customer service to be the very best. The team enjoys their work and constantly strives to maintain excellence. The UK office is always excited by new product launches and believes that this passionate, committed culture makes them uniquely Rowico. Innovative design is at the fundamental core of the Rowico business. They look to inspire, capitalise on trends, lead in design but remain true to functionality and purpose. They are eclectic and unique, classic yet contemporary. Every new collection carefully conceived to ensure they remain a

52 | 13th July 2018



Warwick Ivory Bedroom leader in the cabinet furniture industry. Using reclaimed timber, metal, material and an eye for detail to deliver inspirational pieces with no two products exactly alike. Award winning design and continuous product development helps them to grow and invest, which enables Rowico to provide you with beautiful, contemporary furniture. Rowico work with skilled craftsmen, each and every product having handmade elements and finishes. Reclaimed materials are used where possible with soft and gentle colours of nature to enhance the raw beauty of the timbers; nutmeg, drift and natural woods. Harnessing nature’s imperfections, no two pieces are exactly alike, and this intrinsic design characteristic makes every one of Rowico’s products entirely unique. The Launch of ‘The Art of Furniture’ sees a modern stylish portfolio, all with a focus on art and design. This includes Lowry, Tate in two colours and Picasso. Beautiful contemporary chairs complete the look. Tate is an expansion of Rowico’s industrial revelation. Joining both Lowry and Vibe, Tate combines wood and metal finishes to create a simple yet stylish range of products. The Tate collection features up to the minute brass toned metal work with sumptuous metallic nutmeg coloured surfaces. With more pieces to be added to this collection in July, including a new delicious charcoal and gunmetal colour way, the collection will expand to include dining tables, bookcases and sideboards.

Tate Collection Picasso takes its inspiration from the company’s Scandinavian roots. A stunning yet minimal design, Picasso really highlights the elegant simplicity of the table whilst drawing attention to the finish. Available in both a natural and smoke finish, Picasso is designed for open plan, modern day living. Its 2.4m dining table is perfectly offset with Alpha chairs, and the table is also available in a 1.7m size. The table’s unique feature is the variable leg settings, making each table adjustable and therefore adaptable within its specific location. Lowry is the more established collection within the contemporary portfolio; an industrial revelation combining industrial design in an easy-to-live-with style. This year Rowico are launching more exciting new products at The Manchester Furniture Show on 15-17 July to include a selection of new collections, expansions to current ranges and new colour ways for some firm favourites. The first of the stunning new collections is Oxford, a dining collection featuring reclaimed tops in co-ordinating monochrome tones with panel detailing. The collection comprises of a 1.8m dining table, sideboard, coffee table, console unit, lamp table and bench all highlighting the architectural inspired framework. The sideboard is the star of the show with its muted monochrome tones and panel detail it’s the perfect addition to any social living space.

Having recently launched Warwick Ivory in both living and dining collections, Manchester sees this ever-popular collection expand into the bedroom. Reminiscent of French Chateaux in a soft Cotswold ivory the limed wood surfaces really stand out, highlighting the meandering curves. Rowico are also launching an extendable round dining table in both colour ways, the gorgeous oval shape adding a sense of understated opulence to any dining environment. Lovingly crafted by hand, the Maya Rattan collection also sees a fresh new look with the addition of several unique storage solutions in a white wash finish. With its stylish and hard-wearing hand-woven basket design, Maya Rattan has become a firm favourite amongst Rowico UK’s customer base. The white wash adds a modern, summer tone to the pieces, which makes The Manchester Furniture Show the ideal place to launch them. “Inspiration comes in the most unique of places and I always find myself sketching in my notebook,” says UK business director, Caroline Henchcliffe. “As a close team we make a lot of decisions together about various elements of new collections and feel that this is an integral part of our business. Passion for our products is something that we are keen to draw on and it’s great that everyone gets involved’.”

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READY FOR Showtime Ta k i n g a s h o r t b r e a k from preparations

for the Manchester Fu r n i t u re S h ow,

marketing director

o f L a -Z- B o y U K , M a r k Draper caught up

with Cabinet Maker

to talk all things new with the company

and chat about the

brand’s grow th and

change in direction o v e r t h e p a s t y e a r.

Mark Draper, La-Z-Boy UK marketing director 54 | 13th July 2018

What can visitors to the La-Z-Boy UK stand expect at the Manchester Furniture Show? This year we have our largest and most prominent stand ever at the show because we have so much to share with visitors.

We’ll be displaying our new Urban Attitudes upholstery collection, which was hugely popular at the January Furniture Show. It’s a collection of contemporary, compact designs on legs, which feature a specially designed concealed recline mechanism. It has been created with city living in mind, opening up our products to a whole new group of consumers. Some more exciting news is that we will be launching our new sleep collection of upholstered bed frames, divan bases and luxury mattresses. We’ve already had a lot of

Vienna from Urban Attitudes

interest since we announced this, so we are looking forward to showing people the finished products.

You weren’t at this show last year. Why have you returned in 2018? La-Z-Boy UK launched as a business in January 2017, when the UK and Ireland brand licence was bought back by our US head office. So last year we spent a lot of time planning our products and direction for the future. We’ve now created a host of product lines which we’re really proud of – our Originals Collection last year, which we are still adding to, and our Urban Attitudes and beds collections this year. The Manchester Furniture Show comes at a really important



particularly with people visiting our stockist locator to find out where to purchase a product. We’ll be running more TV and press advertising later this year, and our digital advertising campaign is ongoing. It’s great to have national adverts live 365 days a year and we can see how much of an impact they are having. The idea of the campaign is for brand awareness and to create an emotional connection with La-Z-Boy, so this is something we’re working on long term.

time for us to show all our customers what we have been working on and to connect with potential new stockists, particularly with our expanded demographic reach. What has prompted the launch of the new product lines? We have been trying to alter the way people think of La-Z-Boy and to let consumers know that we are about much more than the traditional large comfy recliner that may initially come to mind when they think of our brand. Urban Attitudes was already a success in the USA and we have created brand new designs specifically for our marketplace. They appeal typically to a younger and more female focused consumer group and their dimensions are better suited to the room sizes in flats, city centre apartments or compact town houses.

Lisbon three seater from Urban Attitudes and unwind, and that fits naturally to beds and mattresses too. We’re also known for our wide selection of fabric and leather options, handing a wide range of choice to our customers. This has been applied to our beds collection too, with a range of upholstered bed frames available in our full swatch selection. You’ve been with La-Z-Boy UK for a year now, what have the past 12 months been like for you? It has been an amazing year, with so much going on for the brand. It has been hugely exciting to be involved with La-Z-Boy at this crucial stage of growth in the UK and Ireland.

It has been a strong year for La-Z-Boy globally. Has that been the case here, and how does La-Z-Boy UK fit with the global brand? We’ve been delighted with the success of our Urban Attitudes range since it launched in

January. We’ve had fantastic feedback from retailers and since the products launched in stores in recent weeks they have been a huge hit with customers. This has given us a really strong grounding for the year. We work really closely with the team in the US and collaborate in many areas. We are really pleased that our SVP, chief commercial officer and president, Doug Collier, will be attending the Manchester Furniture Show and this demonstrates the commitment to and belief in the quality of the new products.

This collection also offers a totally unique hidden recline mechanism which gives the look and feel of a static product with all the benefits of a recliner.

We launched our first standalone consumer TV advertising campaign which included national press and digital ads, we redeveloped our website and launched social media channels, and of course we planned our new product ranges – and much more besides! And the good news is that we have just as much planned for the year ahead.

What’s next for La-Z-Boy UK? There is already plenty in the pipeline! Currently we have teamed up with FriendsFest – a touring tribute to the TV show Friends – and have provided four armchairs for their set of Joey and Chandler’s apartment. Visitors to the event, which runs until September, can tour recreations of the sets and grab selfies in some of the show’s iconic moments.

When it comes to our beds range, the simple answer is that we wanted to extend our ethos of providing ultimate comfort to 24 hours a day. Consumers trust La-Z-Boy to help them relax

What changes have you seen since the launch of your consumer advertising campaign? It’s had a huge impact on our website traffic,

We’re planning further TV advertising for later in the year and we’re already planning our new product ranges which will be launched at the January Furniture Show. But in the meantime we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to Manchester and hope to see lots of people there!

Winchester from the Comfort Studio Collection

Visit La-Z-Boy UK in the Central Hall on stand C21.

w 13th July 2018 | 55


FULL STEAM Cabinet Maker

c h a t s t o Vo g u e

Beds managing

director Ebrahim

Patel on exciting

new products for the Manchester

Fu r n i t u re S h ow.

July 2018 is a month in the calendar that many will have spent months preparing for. Final World Cup and Wimbledon fixtures dance on the horizon alongside the Tour de France in the sport diary, and while British tennis star Andy Murray hasn’t been throwing down aces on Centre Court this year, British manufacturers Vogue Beds will certainly be providing some British quality in Central Hall at Manchester Furniture Show. It’s been full speed ahead for the Tour de France and Vogue is no different. The upcoming exhibition, held at Manchester Central from 15 – 17 July, will see Vogue Beds focus on showcasing a new range of bedsteads, launched in May this year. Cabinet Maker speaks to managing director Ebrahim Patel to get the lowdown on the plans taking shape for the luxury mattress maker’s stand in Manchester. The last time the Leicestershire outfit exhibited at the MFS was actually in 2014. “We’ve been before and I think it was four years ago, I know because there was a World Cup on!” says Ebrahim. It’s not intentional though, he assures me. In the past, Vogue had attended the January Furniture Show and the Telford Bed Show, however, this year the bed manufacturer couldn’t wait until September to show off its new products and has multiple reasons for attending the north-western show. “We’ve just launched our new bedstead collection for Vogue, so it’s good timing to show them at MFS. We also want to support some new sales agents who have recently joined the business to work around that area. Sometimes with Telford and even at the JFS,

56 | 13th July 2018

you don’t seem to get people from further north of the country, so Manchester is a great location for that area.” He says the new agents are Colin Montgomery in Scotland (not the golfer!), James Stevenson in Lancashire and Paul Ridgway in Yorkshire and the Northeast. “They’ve been preparing for the show over the last few weeks, drumming up business and letting people know we’re going to be at the show,” adds Ebrahim. “We’ll be publicising our new sales agents to give them a bit of a hand up because the trade is tough at the moment. Everyone’s finding it tough – whichever trade they’re in.” Despite the currently tricky trading climate, the MD is confident the brand can excite the market with the new look for bedrooms Vogue can provide. While the company is known for several brands including Vogue and Limelight, it will just be showcasing Vogue at this year’s show to accentuate the new bedsteads. With 12 items displayed on a 100 sq m stand, Vogue fans will be able to see Therapy mattresses and Hampton Beds along with some of the Helix models that received the NBF Runners Up award in September 2017. The Helix is a perfect example of innovative design – its springs are receptive to individual body weights, paving the way for uninterrupted rest through an equal sleeping surface for two people. Ebrahim adds: “We’ll have a bit of everything, just to cater for different types of customers who are looking for something different and something new. We’re looking forward to engaging with existing customers and showing them some of the new products they probably haven’t seen, along with some promotions as well.”



“It’s exciting times at Vogue, and the business has been successfully holding its own in the tough trading conditions, which is really good,” he adds. Despite lower footfall at the January show, the company had the “right type of people coming to the stand” and has been busy with sales coming in since then. He says the shows have changed dramatically over the years, and it’s primarily about a mutual engagement with the right type of customer. “We’re getting the word out there and making sure that through customers reading our updates, they’re recognising that there’s something they might want to see.” In fact, the company has had increased attention from the contract side of business that supplies hotels. “We’re doing much more contract work now than we’ve ever done, which has been a good side business for us,” he explains.

CAM Bedstead

An instrumental selling point in Vogue’s product range so far has been the recent addition of the Helix Spring model. “It’s helped because we’ve been able to go out into the market and have something that’s very different that nobody else has got, so we’ve trademarked that product as well so it gives some exclusivity.”

Medi Therapy

Helix Optimum This year, with the focus on bedsteads,

Ebrahim says they’ve come up with the enhanced look and feel in the bedroom, by creating something aesthetic to add to the mattress collection. “It’s changing the format and changing how it looks,” he explains. “The

bedsteads are adding something new to

the marketplace. Adding a headboard and a footboard to a divan base makes it stand out more than just a normal divan base, because divans haven’t evolved much, so transforming it makes it look better.

Gearing up for shows or for the next product launch has become the norm for Ebrahim and the rest of the team at Vogue, making you wonder where the energy comes from. So what’s coming up next? The Midlands business is already getting ready for the Irish Furniture and Homewares Show (held in Dublin from 18-21 August) and straight after that comes the NBF Beds Show (in Telford from 18-19 September). For now, the main aim is to keep the wheels turning quickly and keep the Vogue Beds name in the forefront of the market’s collective minds. Ebrahim explains: “We’re not a massive company and so people don’t always see what we’re doing; but where we’re known, we’re getting a lot more people asking us about making something bespoke for them. We’ve got the product, and now we’re working on getting it out there with marketing. I’m already thinking about revamping our vacuum pack range, called Swift, and already talking about how we’re going to promote that range!” If it’s possible to slow this team down for long enough to chat to them, you’ll find Vogue Beds nestled in Central Hall, at stand A63.

w 13th July 2018 | 57


KINDRED New face of fitted

bedrooms, Kindred Living, gives

Cabinet Maker the Kindred stor y and highlights what

visitors can expect

to find on the stand at the Manchester Fu r n i t u re S h ow.

Fresh on the furniture scene since 2016 and raring to go, Kindred Living has a lot in store for the Manchester Furniture Show this year. Not only that, but the business has been incredibly busy making themselves known in the world of fitted furniture. Cabinet Maker took up the opportunity to find out about the new outfit that, after bursting onto the scene in October 2016, secured a base of 50 retailers in just the first four months. There are times, particularly when cooking, adding to the never-ending book collection, or running out of space for hobby-related items, when exasperation with the lack of space will set in and we rationalise that there just has to be a better way. This family business had come

to the conclusion that fitted bedrooms were out-dated, bulky and just not very practical, so developed the business in order to give the fitted furniture market a jump start through its innovative design and creative solutions. Kindred products come with quality Italian craftsmanship, premium painted or woodgrain finishes and a fully project managed delivery and installation service. Since first launching 19 months ago, the company has grown at an incredible rate. The team puts this down to passion, quality, innovation, and of course, pace! “Everything we do is to the highest standard and we created an offer that was perfect for our retailers and exactly what the consumer is asking for,” said Kathryn Bassett, category brand manager. Boasting three brochures, Modern Collection, Classic Collection, and Oak Collection, which are all available to download from the website, it’s not just the product offering that has got the retailers excited. The business now has two design centres, one in the north and one for the south, which allows it to service all areas of the country. “This ensures we have beautiful showrooms for our customers to utilise as an extension to their business,” Kathryn explained. “Our retailers are so excited about both design centres – it’s the perfect selling tool for them and business has thrived off it.” The brand has also been conjuring up success in an array of other, slightly more hazardous ways. Last year’s charity awards saw recognition for its charity project ‘Blood Sweat

58 | 13th July 2018



Facing: Chapter Stone Top Left: Sculpt Anthracite Top Right: Parity Gloss in Cashmere Bottom Left: Chapter Oak

allows us to display the complete offer in all its glory. It’s an opportunity to show how exciting our brand is, raise the brand profile of Kindred and open it up to new retailers who would like to extend their fitted furniture offering,” said Kathryn.

and Gears’, set up in aid of Help for Heroes, after Kindred Living and parent company Danesmoor Group raised £314,000 in 2016 by cycling over 320 miles across South Africa. They weren’t telling fibs about pace. And yet, it doesn’t stop on the bikes and gets rather a lot faster. The determined team are planning more hair-raising antics in the aid of charity. “As a family business, supporting local charities is such an important part of what we do,” said Kathryn. “This year, several members of the team will be doing a sky-dive to fundraise for Brain Tumour Research and Support across Yorkshire.” The proof is in the pudding; or in this company’s case, the flying success. Kindred has seen a great response from retailers to the current ranges, although it’s certainly not slowing down. In March, the business launched its first bedframe, designed specifically to work seamlessly with the entire classic range. Available in a choice of two

sizes, double and king, the solid timber frame is also available in a selection of three neutral colours; stone, partridge grey and porcelain, all finished with an accent oak headboard detail. Kathryn commented on the new additions: “Kindred delivers a huge opportunity for our retailers to grow their bedroom business, so we’re extremely pleased to develop this sales opportunity further with the addition of a new bedframe range. With its fitted wardrobes, matching chests, bedframe, and array of internal accessories, Kindred offers a diverse product portfolio that’s flexible yet straightforward to specify, purchase and subsequently install, allowing retailers to easily sell the dream bedroom.” The show is an important springboard within the company’s plans for further profile amongst retailers. “Our customers are so important to us, we want to share our passion for the brand and product, so a trade show

As a relatively new brand, the team at Kindred Living has been preparing to show the most exciting products in the range and plans to launch brand new products to keep its retailers on the edge of their incredibly well made seats. Products from both the classic and modern bedroom collections will be on show in Manchester, along with internal accessories, chests of drawers and bedframes to complete the ranges. With the aim of maximising space and giving fresh appeal to bedroom design with a contemporary twist, Kindred will also be giving a glimpse into a new made-to-measure sliding door offer, adding credence to the brand’s position as one of the most exciting fitted furniture brands on the market. Kathryn said: “We’re delighted to be showcasing at the Manchester Furniture Show. The fitted bedroom industry was ripe for innovation and out of this, Kindred was born, challenging an otherwise antiquated market and injecting life back into this sector.” You will find the Kindred team members and their new ranges either on Cloud 9, or, even better, in the Central Hall on stand A67.

w 13th July 2018 | 59


TIME TO David Lee is one of the founding partners of Ashley Manor Upholstery, a thriving British business, part of a group consisting of Alexander & James and AMX Design. This month sees David’s departure from the company after 25 years as he embarks on an exciting new era of semi retirement and no doubt new projects. What do you think are the key attributes to a successful company? Any successful company in my opinion is built on trust - when you start a business nobody will give you so much as a ‘fiver’ - however today, after 25 years - people will trust me with millions of pounds worth of business. They know I’m going to deliver. So, trust and integrity and doing what you say you’re going to do is the key - they are basic principles, once you lose that trust - you’ll never get it back. How did Ashley Manor come to be & what is its USP? In 1993, myself and John Collinson left a previous employment where we met with a plan to start our own business. We thought we could offer something extra and wanted to get out and start our own business and carve our own destiny. Our speed is our USP - spotting

trends and getting product out to market quick. Sometimes we have been far too early for the market and many would pick up on that trend later on and grab the spoils after we’d moved on. Timing is key and we’ve had to learn that! 60 | 13th July 2018

Cabinet Maker chats to David Lee, Ashley M a n o r C E O, a b o u t

where it all began,

the journey and next steps for the future as he prepares to

depart after 25 years a t t h e c o m p a n y.

What led you to launch AMX and latterly Alexander & James and how do you feel they differ to the original company? AMX was borne out of the evolving trend for imported furniture from Asia and we could see we couldn’t compete with the leather market by manufacturing here in the UK, so we decided if our market was going to be disrupted by these new contenders that we would join the trend and go with it. Alexander & James was a desire to launch a new brand with fresh design roots. I woke up on New Years Day 2013 with an idea to reinvent what AMX was when it started which was a more design and fashion led product. Mark Smith and I invested time into the marketing and branding and launched this at the NEC furniture show just three weeks later! What other British businesses

do you admire? I admire what Loaf have done in a short space of time and have always been a fan of Duresta and their product. How do you feel you have grown as an individual over the years? I have become more comfortable with

myself and in my own skin than I used to be, which I think comes with age. I’ve never lacked faith in my ability in business, which has propelled me to make the necessary decisions with confidence. I have extensive



knowledge gained from 30 years in the furniture industry and have been to every corner of the globe looking at furniture factories and retailers. I’ve manufactured, imported, exported, studied, analysed and set up factories. I’ve also mellowed a lot over the years; I’m not as aggressive as I used to be! Has anyone influenced you? Sir James Goldsmith was my big mentor where business is concerned. I read the book of his life when I was still at school and it had a huge influence on me and the life that I have led. Landmark turning points for the business, when have the major step changes been? The recession of the early 1990’s made for a difficult start! However, I learnt a great deal in that period that stood me in good stead for the rest of my career. When we moved into the factory at Pedmore Road, Dudley, I thought, ‘We’ve made it!’ That was a very proud moment for me. Then there was the 2008 recession. At the same time Mark Smith and I were buying out our old business partner John and through that period the attitude from the Banks caused significant challenges. I swore I’d never owe banks money again - and within 12 months we’d paid them off. After that everything was on the up from there on. Our joint venture with TCM Corporation of Thailand really pulled at the heartstrings in 2016, as I signed away my majority share to new owners. Difficult, but I suppose all good things come to an end. Challenges? What were your biggest? Getting yourself established is the hard bit - building trust and getting a foothold in the market is challenging and then staying ahead of the competition is an ongoing pursuit. Keeping relevant and at the forefront of everyone’s minds needs constant investment of time and effort. Brexit! Material increases and dealing with the fall out from the weak pound was very challenging indeed. How have your team helped shape the growth of the company? Everyone’s played their part from the most junior to the most senior - they are all loyal and hard working and many have been there almost as long as me. No business is about one man.

David Lee What do you wish for the company going forwards? Continued prosperity a long and happy existence and, of course, increased market share. Changing face of British retail - what have you observed and what are your thoughts on the future? It’s apparent retail needs to shape up for the future if it’s going to survive. However, whilst I’m all for healthy competition in business I think the unchecked rise of companies like Amazon are a danger to all retailers in lots of sectors not just in the UK but also across the world. Consumers will reap what they sow as far as Amazon is concerned and they will come to regret the diminishing high street. That said it is incumbent on the retailers themselves to rise to any challenge and to make themselves viable in the 21st century and make the whole customer experience more engaging and fun. There also seems to be this battle between retail and online - when in fact they are two sides of the same coin and one cannot exist without the other - it is noticeable that the online sofa companies in the UK have realised very quickly that to be successful they also need a retail presence and retailers have also done the same with online - ultimately, the two will morph and there will no longer be two different entities just businesses offering a product through all available channels.

What advice would you give anyone starting out in business today? Jump straight into it and get stuck in work hard and it will be fine! BUT don’t leave anything to chance. If something CAN go wrong it WILL go wrong, so be prepared and always keep your eye on the ball. Don’t just have a plan b have a plan c, d, e, f, and g to go with it. Plans are always evolving, situations change so be ready to adapt quickly. Would you change anything 25 years on? Any regrets? Anyone that doesn’t have any regrets in life is either a liar or has very low expectations! I’ve a few but having said that there isn’t much I would change about what I’ve done in the business - I would wish for the knowledge I had now at the beginning, if I’d had that advantage I’d have made a lot more money for sure! What’s next personally and professionally for you? Time out! Fishing, and maybe learning to fly! In the meantime I’m going to spend time with the family and do things I’ve not had time to do over the last quarter of a century. I’m looking forward to that and professionally I’ll see where life takes me. I’ve a few ideas so let’s wait and see.

w 13th July 2018 | 61


CALL FOR The British Furniture Confederation

(BFC) has recently

published its second Manifesto - calling for Government

cooperation and support for the furniture and

furnishings sector

on training, expor ts, standards and

regulations and the environment.

The British Furniture Confederation (BFC) is the UK furniture industry’s representative body which seeks to engage with Government and ensure that its policies and initiatives support a thriving furniture, furnishings and bed sector. The Manifesto has been sent to ministers across Government, as well as shadow ministers and key members of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group, with clear, implementable calls for action to bolster the furniture, furnishings and bed industry - including: clarity on Brexit negotiations; enhanced long term export support; increased support for training to resolve the growing skills gap; the maintenance and policing of safety standards and regulations; and engagement with, and support for, moving towards a more circular economy. “It has been encouraging to see the

Government’s renewed focus on industry and we welcomed the publication of the Industrial Strategy in November, which can only have a positive impact” said BFC chairman Jonathan Hindle. “However it did not fully address our concerns about the skills gap, export support or indeed support in general for what is seen as a more traditional manufacturing sector. Hence the publication of this, our second Manifesto,

and a very clear message to Government about the value of our industry and the ways in which Government can specifically help it to continue to prosper and contribute to the economy and culture of the UK.” 62 | 13th July 2018

As before, the BFC 2018 Manifesto has been developed in response to an industry-wide survey, completed by 65 companies across the sector. The results highlighted a number of strengths, opportunities and challenges and the Manifesto sets out to identify the BFC’s specific action plan for 2018/19. Jonathan Hindle added: “We must keep on reminding the Government of the importance of the furniture & furnishings industry to the economy. At nearly £17 billion and rising, it’s a substantial growth industry for the UK, supporting over 327,000 jobs across 50,000 registered companies. Manufacture of furniture and beds in Britain is one of the top three divisions driving manufacturing growth in the UK, with output of over £11 billion emanating from 8,390 companies employing 118,000 individuals.**” Uncertainty surrounding the future of trading with Europe remains high on the list of concerns for industry - not just for exports to our main markets but also for imports of essentials materials. Costs have already risen - with 94% of survey respondents reporting increases well above inflation rates - and 85% anticipating further rises in the next 12 months. The BFC’s voice therefore joins many others calling for as

tariff-free trading as possible and clarity as soon as possible. British business must remain a primary focus for Government in its negotiations and all options for supporting businesses should be considered.


The industry has seen exports increase slightly in the past couple of years - up 13% to £1.13bn from 2015-2016 - but only 20% of survey respondents are currently exporting more than 10% of turnover or plan to increase exports over the coming year or so. To encourage more exporting and to new markets, the BFC still wants Government to commit to a clear five year strategy, detailing the value of support available to exporters in each year. It also wants to see more knowledge and more in-market support. The BFC also urges measures such as tax breaks for export investment, more trade missions, export finance guarantees, simplified grant systems, and increased funding and more sector-devolved power for Trade Challenge Partners (TCPs). The BFC’s survey indicates that the furniture industry approves of, and is committed to, maintaining the current high levels of product safety and standards. But a significant 35% feel that the UK does not effectively enforce product safety regulations so the BFC is urging government to increase resources across the regulatory landscape to improve policing. Says Jonathan Hindle: “The safety of our products is of paramount importance, both as a basic duty of care to our customers and to the reputation of our industry.” The BFC is also calling for clarity on product safety and the mutual recognition regime the industry will have to work to post-Brexit to ensure frictionless trade with the EU.

With no further progress made on the review of the flammability regulations, the BFC is now pushing for urgent action and continuing to engage and collaborate fully with Government. Getting the balance right between maintaining high levels of safety and reducing the use of certain fire retardant chemicals is critical and collaborative action with all stakeholders is essential. With almost 80% of survey respondents concerned about their ability to recruit adequately skilled staff over the next few years, the government’s approach to education and apprenticeships remains crucial to the success of the sector. Not only is Brexit and subsequent immigration policy of concern - but also the perhaps unintended consequence of education policies which are turning schools away from teaching skills essential to furniture making - namely design and technology. These subjects should be accredited as core and properly represented in all accountability measures, says the BFC. Jonathan Hindle said: “Without highly skilled employees, the UK’s reputation for high quality innovative goods - the very products that present the best export opportunities - will decline.” The BFC also urges government to continue to support apprenticeships and to ensure the Apprenticeship Levy works for an industry dominated by SMEs (less than one in six are levy payers). Encouraging schools to partner more with local businesses would also help.


“WITHOUT HIGHLY SKILLED EMPLOYEES, THE UK'S REPUTATION FOR HIGH QUALITY INNOVATIVE GOODS THE VERY PRODUCTS THAT PRESENT THE BEST EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES - WILL DECLINE. ” The BFC survey also confirms the furniture and furnishing industry’s commitment to becoming more environmentally friendly. 62% are commitment to reducing carbon emissions, 95% are aware of the environmental and health impacts of the chemicals used in products and most have taken steps to reduce them. The industry also supports the government’s aim for a greener, more sustainable economy, with 87% of respondents in favour of positive engagement in the development of product stewardship schemes. The BFC wants to ensure full collaboration with the industry of the development of any such schemes in support of moving towards a more circular economy. While there continues to be significant voluntary engagement in efforts to reduce packaging waste, CO2 emissions, recycling and diversion from landfill, there are concerns that, without proper scrutiny, the number of rogue traders could escalate and the BFC is looking to government for support in policing the use of second hand and re-used components to ensure the consumer is not the victim of misdescribed and/or unsafe products. In addition, the Government must support the industry - particularly micro and SME

businesses - to increase research and development of more environmentally friendly materials and manufacturing methods.

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A modern classic – Monaco from Furniture To Go

The Monaco range is as functional as it is beautiful. With a minimalist style combining sterling oak with large blocks of matte black it certainly is eye catching, and this is complimented by the useful touches like the lift-up function for underbed storage, LED flash for wardrobes and the nifty USB chargers in the headboard. The optional underbed lighting as well as the showpiece internal lighting in the wardrobes really do set this range apart as something special; creating a wonderfully atmospheric space to relax in any modern home.


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Q 01223 846 825 m



SALES REPRESENTATIVE This is a fantastic opportunity to join an energetic business at a time of expansion. TCS is an Irish based wholesaler of upholstery, mattresses and dining furniture who intend to increase their presence in the UK market. The product range is very commercial and excellent value and is having success wherever we have stockists, but we would like to have more stockists and we need our customers to be supported by a professional TCS Sales Representative. Our new recruit will cover the North of England and we will equip you with a van to display samples, an iPad and a phone as well as all the training that you need. A good basic salary of £21k pa is available to the right candidate and commission will be paid on every sale from the area and from stockists. Realistic OTE in year 1 is £26,000 and in the following years this will rise significantly. As we expand there will be opportunities for advancement and a progressive career. Job Type: Full-time Salary: £26,000.00 /year Applications should be sent to

the complete service

The Complete Service

The Carpet Specialists


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THRIVING IN THE #NEVERNORMAL WORLD The consumer of today is feeling uncertain about the future. It’s no wonder. Just pause for a minute and consider the changeable nature of the Brexit negotiations, the tense state of global geopolitics, the threat of job losses to armies of robot workers, the rising spectre of climate change and resource scarcity, the pensions time bomb, the crisis within the NHS, and more. Wall to wall media coverage helps to create a mindset of precariousness, for both businesses and their customers that call the “#Nevernormal”. Because of this mindset, consumers find it difficult to think long-term, struggle to control their lives, feel stressed, time poor, economically challenged and increasingly distrustful of the messages they receive from governments, the media and businesses. However, as the mantra goes, every crisis creates opportunities and, as we have seen in recessions gone by, it is, those businesses that best recognise and capitalise upon change by innovating new products and services or by communicating with customers and prospects in ways that match changing moods and needs, that survive and thrive. Here are three key consumer opportunities, each rooted in countering the #Nevernormal mindset:

1. Save people time, money and resources Urban density and logistics innovation has led to people getting whatever they want at the click of a button, and in increasingly shorter timeframes. Patience is a thing of the past and immediacy is the new expectation. Geolocation tracking will allow for pin-point delivery to moving targets. And thanks to smart home tech, items will be deliverable even if the house is empty. The availability of price comparison tools means that the maximising mindset will persist no matter how much the economy improves and also that it will be true across the income spectrum.

Blockchain technology will provide the engine for increased transparency of supply chain, internal processes and even pricing and help to build trust in organisations. 3. Use technology to enhance customer interaction As consumers demand 24/7 service, there will be a shift to automated provision of customer service but the rise of retail automation will not be as extreme as feared – instead technology will enable retail staff to up their game, enabling them to identify customers by facial recognition, bring their previous service history immediately to bear and use AR or VR to showcase what products will look like in situ.

Manufacturers will face pressure to keep production processes as lean as possible, eliminate waste and enable customers to return, reuse, or recycle products or the packaging that came with them. 2. Build trust and emotional connections Information is changing the trust equation. Consumers can check point of sale product claims or news stories with a click of their smartphone.




Profile for Cabinet Maker

Cabinet Maker 13th July 2018  

Cabinet Maker 13th July 2018