Furniture News #371

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#371 February 2020


Cintique’s evolving heritage

Direct delivery The Very Group reaches out Cyber security for SMEs Slumberland’s digital development

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EDITOR’S COMMENT 3 EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Paul Farley 01424 776101 Twitter @FurnitureNewsED

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EFFORTS TO ADJUST TO NEW NORMS ARE ROUTINELY STYMIED BY THE SHEER PACE OF CHANGE Online sales accounted for 21.3% (ONS data) of all retail sales in December, as the digital penetration rate of non-food products hit 34.5% (BRC). In the furniture industry, some are riding the wave of digital demand, while others lag behind – in both camps, efforts to adjust to new norms are routinely stymied by the sheer pace of the changes taking place. This month, we take stock of several best-practice approaches to making the most of the digital domain, and share an insight into one of the sector’s biggest success stories – The Very Group, the UK’s largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider. From its mail order origins, The Very Group (formerly Shop Direct) now boasts annual sales of £2b, and sells more than 150 major home brands. In the wake of a significant rebrand, home category director Mike Wheeler shares his views on sourcing and selling on p10. He catalogues (pun intended) a business that goes to every effort to understand how its customers want to shop, and suggests that emerging applications like AR, supported by the introduction of 5G networks, could prove gamechangers. “As we are 100% digital, we have to think creatively about overcoming barriers to buying online,” says Mike.

But what are businesses rooted in physical retail doing to keep up? On p46, you’ll find the key takeaways from Cylindo’s survey of Europe’s top 100 furniture retailers, which shows the areas in which businesses are excelling (and falling down) when it comes to online merchandising. From zoom functionality to product configurators, discover which tools are being successfully deployed, the missed opportunities, and how European retail stacks up against the US marketplace. Elsewhere, Joanne John reveals how Steinhoff UK Beds is offering stockists greater support through better websites (p16), while Mike Ianiri offers SME managers advice on safeguarding their digital operations against cyber crime (p52). While furniture remains a tactile, experiential purchase for the most part, overcoming the disconnect between physical and online retail is a challenge we all face. That said, if all this digital dialogue leaves you cold, don’t forget you can subscribe to receive a printed copy of Furniture News each month – visit to find out more, or follow the directions to the left of this comment. Wishing you all a prosperous (multichannel) month …

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No part of this publication may be reproduced without the specific prior written agreement of the Publisher and may not be stored on any type of retrieval system. Furniture News/ Gearing Media Group Ltd accepts no responsibility for variations in colour reproduction. Special colours (Pantone etc) can be catered for with prior arrangement. Some elements of the editorial content in this publication are submitted by the trade, however, all efforts are made to ensure that the editorial remains true to fact and unbiased. Monies may have been accepted to offset the costs of colour reproduction. Gearing Media Group Ltd reserves the right to alter without prior notice any content other than customers’ advertisements. No correspondence will be entered into regarding altered or adjusted editorial content. The editor’s decision is final. All material submitted for inclusion in Furniture News is done so entirely at the owner’s risk and no responsibility is accepted for the safekeeping or return thereof. Advertiser information is reproduced in good faith and Gearing Media Group accepts no responsibility in respect of adverts appearing in the magazine, and the magazines expressed do not necessarily reflect the publisher’s views. The Publisher accepts no liability for any loss arising from an advertisement’s late or non-appearance.

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Paul Farley 01424 776101



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#371 February 2020


Cintique’s evolving heritage


10 The Very Group / 14 Bedeck / 16 Slumberland 18 Retail Barometer

Direct delivery The Very Group reaches out Cyber security for SMEs Slumberland’s digital development



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20 Heimtextil / 22 BFM Fabric Show London 26 Meble Polska / 28 CIFF Guangzhou



32 Mixed Media / 34 Mix ‘n’ Blend Shelving 38 Living / 40 Bedroom / 42 Trade Services

46 OPINION 46 European ecommerce evaluated 50 Too many shows? / 52 Cyber crime 54 Air pollution vs sleep / 57 ACID / 58 Feedback

Biljana Vidojevic, content marketer, Cylindo

10 52

Mike Ianiri, sales director, Redsquid



Dids Macdonald OBE, CEO, ACID, and master, The Furniture Makers’ Company

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NEW FOR 2020


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Bensons for Beds has partnered with sleep scientist Dr Sophie Bostock to help its customers achieve ‘Sleep Wellness’ BFM Fabric Show London 2020 will now take place on 19-20th this month at Chelsea FC, Stamford Bridge, following a second date change, which was prompted by the movement of a Premier League fixture Bedmaker Harrison Spinks is eligible to be classed as Carbon Neutral +, a new classification, following an independent audit by sustainability expert Carbon Footprint. The company has also launched a local urban tree-planting scheme Scandinavian chain JYSK will open a new-generation store on Oldham’s Alexandra Retail Park this spring, creating around 10 new jobs Department store Beales went into administration last month. KPMG was appointed administrator after efforts to save the business or find a buyer failed. Beales continues to trade through 23 stores as a going concern while options are explored Harrison Spinks’ commercial director Ruairi Giles is hoping to raise £5000 for The Furniture Makers’ Company by taking part in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon

Loaf has appointed ex-Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and Tesco Anne Blixen-Finecke as its new CFO


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DUNELM FINDS DIGITAL GROOVE Dunelm saw LFL sales increase +5% in Q2 (to 28th December 2019), reflecting good growth online (+32.1%) and in-store (+1.2%) against strong YoY comparatives (+10.8% in Q2 2018). Total growth – including that derived from new stores – was +6.2%. Total LFL sales for H1 increased by +5.6%, with total growth of +6%. Gross margin improved, thanks to sourcing gains and lower product markdowns – Dunelm did not participate in Black Friday or additional pre-Christmas discounting. Dunelm successfully transitioned to its new proprietary digital platform during the quarter, and enjoyed a smooth transition plus growth since launch. During the peak pre-Christmas season, the

retailer says it hosted significantly more customers on the website than the previous system would have permitted. The retailer remains on track to add over 6000 new online-only products this year. Dunelm also opened a new store at Bristol Cribbs Causeway in December, taking its portfolio to 171. The retailer expects to open three new stores (including two relocations) in H2. Nick Wilkinson, Dunelm’s CEO, says: “We are really pleased with our performance in the first half, building on the strong growth and profitability delivered last year. The second quarter was particularly strong in terms of sales and margin growth, on both one-year and two-year bases.”

CARPETRIGHT ADDS CONCESSIONS Carpetright has opened new concessions in Furniture Village stores on the West Yorkshire Retail Park in Leeds, Birstall, and on the Metro Retail Park in Gateshead. Carpetright’s dedicated teams, led by store managers Andrew Patton and Michelle Baker, will provide advice and a free measuring and estimating service, while also being able to arrange third-party fitting services. Furniture Village’s commercial director, Charlie

Harrison, says: “We’re thrilled to be growing our successful partnership with Carpetright. As one of the UK’s largest furniture and beds retailers, we can now offer our Leeds and Gateshead customers an even wider range of furnishings for the home, all under one roof.” Carpetright CEO Wilf Walsh adds: “We’re delighted to have opened these new concessions in Furniture Village in Gateshead and Leeds and are really pleased to have returned to Birstall.”

IMPORTER FINED FOR EUTR OFFENCES West Midlands-based importer Heartlands Furniture (Wholesale) Ltd pled guilty to two criminal offenses under the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) on September 20th at Birmingham magistrates court, reports sustainable forestry organisation Forest Trends. Heartlands was subsequently issued with two fines of £4000, and ordered to pay full costs of £5177.86 and a victim surcharge of £170 for the two offences. According to Forest Trends, Heartlands’ offences reflected non-compliance with a Notice of Remedial Action issued by the UK Competent Authority (the Government agency responsible for enforcing the EUTR in the UK), which had set out the necessary

improvements for two product lines in order for Heartlands to be EUTR-compliant; and failure to exercise due diligence when placing these products (a Brazilian pine Corona bed frame from Brazil, and an American oak Stirling glass-fronted cabinet from Vietnam) on the EU market in October and November 2017. The UK Competent Authority used the due diligence requirements of the EUTR to prosecute, as Heartlands Furniture had failed to establish the necessary systems to ascertain whether the timber used in the two lines was legal. Heartlands was ordered to pay a total of £13,347.86.

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NEXT MOURNS SAVIOUR AMID STRONG SALES Full-price sales at Next through the Christmas trading period (27th October to 28th December) were up +5.2%, +1.1% (£9m) ahead of expectations – driven by a colder November and improved stock availability in both bricks-and-mortar stores and online. Across the year to 29th December, full-price sales were up +3.9% YoY. Stock in Next’s end-of-season sale was down -2.9% YoY, with clearance rates slightly lower than expectated. The period also saw the passing of Sir David Jones CBE, Next’s former chairman and chief

executive. In the 1990s, David was responsible for taking the retailer from the brink of collapse to becoming a leading high street player. “David will be remembered by many of his colleagues as the man whose courage, good sense, kindness and hard work navigated the company through its most demanding moments in the late 1980s until his retirement in 2006,” states Next. “David was a true friend of Next and our thoughts are with his family at this time.” The retailer expects to return full-price sales growth of +3.0% this year, with profits up +1% YoY.

JOHN LEWIS’ SALES DIP AND MD DEPARTS Gross sales at John Lewis Partnership were down -1.8% YoY to £2167m over the Christmas period (17th November to 4th January), with gross sales at John Lewis & Partners down £1134m (-2.3% YoY), a decrease of -2% on a LFL basis. Home sales were down -3.4% YoY. Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield says: “Operationally – across availability, service, delivery and online – we saw a strong performance in both brands [including Waitrose & Partners]. We saw significant variation in levels of demand, with Black Friday sales up +10% on the equivalent period last year, followed by more subdued demand in the subsequent weeks. “In John Lewis & Partners we will reverse the

losses incurred in the first half of the year, but profits will be substantially down on last year. We therefore expect that partnership profit before exceptionals will be significantly lower than last year.” In October, the partnership outlined plans to integrate its management teams this month, and the business reports that more than 90% of the leadership appointments have been confirmed. However, Paula Nickolds – currently MD of John Lewis & Partners, who was slated to become executive director, brand – has announced that she will be leaving the partnership this month after working with the company for 25 years, “after some reflection on the responsibilities of her proposed new role”.

CELEBRATING THE INDUSTRY’S SUPERIOR SUPPLIERS The results are in for The Furniture Awards 2020, after the UK’s top suppliers presented their latest products at the January Furniture Show. After inspecting the shortlisted entrants at the exhibition, a panel of industry experts picked this year’s winners: Fortune Woods (winner, Living & Dining Cabinet); Gallery Direct (highly commended, Living & Dining Cabinet); Wiemann UK, (winner, Bedroom Cabinet); Arte-N Furniture (highly





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commended, Bedroom Cabinet); Collins & Hayes (winner, Upholstery); Cintique (highly commended, Upholstery); Gingko Electronics (winner, Accents); and Silentnight (winner, Mattresses & Divans). Now six years old, The Furniture Awards were developed by Furniture News magazine in partnership with the January Furniture Show to bring the industry’s most creative, intelligent and industrious suppliers to the fore. This year’s edition was sponsored by trade association BFM, digital marketing specialist Orbital, and furniture technology specialist Lectra. The winners will enjoy free stand space at next year’s show, plus digital marketing services from Orbital. The submissions were judged by: Dids Macdonald, ACID (Anti Copying In Design) and The Furniture Makers’ Company; Malcolm Walker, FIRST (Furniture Industry Retail Sourcing Today) MW; Royce Clark, Grampian Furnishers; and Mike Murray, Land of Beds. The panel was again chaired by awards co-ordinator, Furniture News’ Paul Farley, who says: “Another great supplier line-up is joining The Furniture Awards hall of fame this year. Read our March issue for more on why these businesses made the cut.”

DFS saw gross sales fall -6% YoY in the HY to 29th December, albeit against strong comparatives, thanks to “a challenging consumer environment, particularly in August and September”. Order intake momentum has since strengthened Information Publications Ltd, trading as Cabinet Maker magazine, ceased trading early last month due to insolvency Independent Lovett + Judge has launched at Birmingham’s Mailbox. The contemporary 3000ft2 showroom houses a range of furniture, accessories and curiosities, plus bespoke options design Shanghai expects to attract some 70,000 visitors when it relocates to a new venue – the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center – from 12-15th March this year

NBF member data from Q3 2019 shows overall bed sales up over +7% YoY by volume and +1.7% by value. The results point to growth in mattress-only sales, up +6% by volume and +3% by value – yet the average unit price of divan sets was down -12.5%, resulting in a YoY drop of -5.5% in the total value of divan set sales Retailer Leekes has reported strong results, with furniture helping drive turnover to £80m in the year to 31st March 2019, EBITDA of £5m and pre-tax profits up £1.6m YoY


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INFORMING INDUSTRY BUILDING BUSINESS Each monthly issue of Furniture News provides market news, insight and new products. Subscribe today to receive your physical copy every month, plus a copy of Connect – The Furniture Trade Directory (and VIP online login status).



#371 February 2020







Cintique’s evolving heritage

“Consistently interesting, informative and well-written articles” - Emma Leeke, Leekes

“A great balance of quick-hit news and relevant in-depth discussion pieces” - Steve Adams, MattressOnline

“Furniture News is our window to the bigger world” - Mike Murray, Land of Beds

Direct delivery The Very Group reaches out Cyber security for SMEs Slumberland’s digital development

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DIRECT DELIVERY Following Shop Direct’s rebrand to The Very Group in January, Mike Wheeler, home category director of the UK’s largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider, talks to Furniture News about sourcing and merchandising furniture for an increasingly digital audience.

Mike Wheeler

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How does The Very Group source home and furniture products? Our approach to sourcing is divided into own-brand and branded products. Own-brand is a core part of our home offer, and we have a dedicated global sourcing team that collaborates closely with our product designers and category managers. We frequently develop new ranges based on emerging market trends to offer our customers the newness they love. We also sell more than 150 major home brands, and will continue expanding our portfolio. This encompasses specialist home brands like Silentnight, fashion brands that have expanded into home such as Karen Millen and Calvin Klein, and partnerships with retailers like Swoon and that have built great brand authority in their respective categories. We constantly review our supply base with the aim of onboarding brand partners that can offer our customers something new – from an entire incremental product category like graphic wall art to a unique handwriting

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Botanist trend, Very home range SS20

How does a background in digital marketing inform your approach to buying and strategy? Are there benefits to having a foot in both camps? I’ve been at The Very Group for 15 years, and spent the first decade in digital marketing before moving into trading and my current role as home category director. Digital marketing requires a strategic mindset and a data-driven approach. The same applies to buying and merchandising activity, creating the best product assortment and optimising the overall performance of a category. Marketing experience means I’m accustomed to using internal and external data insight sources to interpret current market-drivers and trends. The methodology applied when optimising a search campaign can also be applied to optimising product assortment, by reducing investment in underperforming ranges and reinvesting into more successful lines. Through supporting’s multi-category offer with digital marketing activity over many years, I developed a comprehensive understanding of our product assortment beyond home and furniture and the inner workings of the business. not currently available on but evident within the market. We’re committed to improving product quality and the overall profitability of our supply base by regularly reviewing how each brand partner is driving growth. This helps us maximise future value. The Very Group recently expanded its brand portfolio within the home category. What do you hope to achieve by doing this, and what balance of branded and non-branded goods would you like to achieve? We’re clear about the purpose of our own-brand products, which continue to play a critical role across our core ranges. Own-brand is hugely important for large, predictable, volume-based product like essential bedding, which is less brand-orientated. It also contributes a great deal to our designled, in-house trends. We also know that customers love the combination of big brands and flexible ways to pay that we offer, as this opens up a premium alternative for customers who may otherwise struggle to access


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What are the challenges involved in running such a large team? There are more than 50 people in the team so spending time together is challenging, but we make sure there are several weekly touchpoints including full team huddles and smaller group meetings. The Very Group’s category management structure also drives collaboration between product teams and others such as logistics and commercial finance. We try to do that in person regularly, too. The biggest challenge is guiding the team through change whilst maintaining performance and managing our existing workload and supply base. It can also be difficult to switch off, as the job is never done! How is the way The Very Group’s customers shop changing? Do you see the credit model taking any new directions? Our customer base is growing and we now have 4.05 million active customers, with more shopping for home and furniture

Hike trend, Very home range SS20

all the home brands they want. We launched Swoon, Tommy Hilfiger and Content by Terence Conran alongside several others in 2019 and will add more brands this year. Our proportional mix of brands and own-brand varies by sub-category. For example, our DIY and nursery offers are 100% branded, while upholstery and bedroom furniture are more reliant on own-brand development. We believe that brands enhance our overall home assortment, by offering something unique that also complements our strong own-brand offer.

on than ever before. As we are 100% digital, we have to think creatively about overcoming barriers to buying online – like the fact that most people still want to see and feel the fabric of a new sofa before purchasing. Offering fabric swatches to help customers decide is one example of how we overcome these barriers. Attitudes towards delivery are also changing. Previously, we saw speed of delivery as our number-one priority, but we’ve found customers love being able to choose a precise delivery time and date that suits them, even if that’s slightly further away. That said, speed is still important, and several of our suppliers of made-to-order products now manufacture them on a JIT basis to minimise the time between production and delivery. Making good things easily accessible to more people has always been our

EVERYDAY MISSION The Very Group is the UK’s largest integrated pureplay digital retailer and financial services provider, with annual sales of £2b. Its largest (and fastest-growing) retail brand is, supported by the and brands – together, the brands’ websites receive an average of 1.5 million visits each day, with 79% of the online sales completed on mobile devices. The group offers more than 1900 brands, including big-name labels and exclusive own-brands, and delivers 49 million products every year, to a customer base of four million. Very aims “to make good things easily accessible to more people, and our aim is to be the number-one destination for shoppers who value flexible ways to pay. By offering customers the brands they love and options to spread the cost, we help them say ‘yes’ when it really matters”.

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core purpose, and combining the brands our customers love with market-leading flexible ways to pay will continue to be at the heart of that. Who do you see as your biggest rivals in this marketplace? And which businesses inspire the way you go about things? Our competitor set is broad because we offer so many sub-categories within home and furniture. It has also expanded as more retailers have become alive to the value customers place on credit. We take inspiration from brands that innovate in any form, including from a product design, technology and sustainability POV. IKEA is a great example of a brand setting the pace for the future of retail – for example, with its new planning studio formats, and sustainable options such as the ability for customers to lease furniture rather than buy it. Emerging players that positively disrupt our market inspire us, too. Please share some of the more revealing insights you’ve learned from The Very Group’s customer data in recent years, and explain how you’ve responded A recent example is analysis of customer data that revealed a high number of failed searches for paint. As a result, we launched Craig & Rose, Rust-Oleum and decorating accessories brand Harris during our peak period in 2019. We think paint and decorating accessories will see robust growth

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INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 13 over the next few years, along with an increase in online penetration. Our category and design teams also collaborate and use sales data to identify bestselling products that can be updated to feature in a future trend, building on existing successes. For example, if the data identifies a particularly successful upholstery line, we can maintain the shape but refresh the fabric or colour in line with the new trend. Are there any industry developments in the pipeline which are likely to change the way you do business (both personally and at a group level)? More than ever, our customers are looking online for digital inspiration and shoppable social content. Harnessing the value of social channels like Instagram will become even more important. The introduction of 5G networks will provide greater levels of connectivity for customers, and support retailers’ ability to create exciting and immersive selling experiences, utilising virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) applications to remove barriers to

buying online. For example, AR could help customers envisage how a new sofa will look in their own living room. A greater focus on sustainability, including raw materials, sustainability certification, optimal packaging and recycling opportunities, will also change the way retailers approach product development and logistics. Please describe three characteristics that define the furniture trade you work alongside Firstly, I’d say innovative. It’s easy to overlook this when surrounded by electronic technology advancements in our everyday lives, but innovation is everywhere in the furniture industry. Textile advancements, product sustainability and design innovation like

compact storage solutions are just a few examples. Secondly, craftmanship is still at the heart of this highly skilled, labourintensive industry. Many manufacturers offer training schemes, as recruiting a workforce with the specialist skills required can be challenging. I don’t think many customers fully appreciate the levels of craftmanship that go into making a high-quality product like a mattress, despite lying on one every night! Finally, heritage is what makes the furniture industry special. Manufacturers continue to innovate and modernise product ranges to meet modern customer demands, whilst preserving the brand authority that they’ve often worked tirelessly to build for decades


DIGITAL DIRECTION 2002 – New media account manager, Clockworx Design 2004 – Ecommerce marketing executive, Littlewoods Shop Direct Home Shopping 2007 – Group ecommerce search manager, Shop Direct Group 2010 – Head of search, Shop Direct Group

Hike trend, Very home range SS20

2012 – Head of paid media, Shop Direct Group

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2013 – Head of trading, Shop Direct 2014 – Head of group sales & trading, Shop Direct 2018 – Selling director, Shop Direct 2018 – Category director, Shop Direct

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ALL HANDS ON DECK Name: Gary Irwin Position: Joint MD Business: Bedeck is a branded home textiles company with retail and wholesale divisions, selling from 24 stores UK-wide (plus shop-in-shops) alongside its website.

Three words that best describe your business Family, product, energy. The last trade show you visited Heimtextil, the international trade fair for home and contract textiles, held in Frankfurt, Germany, each January. Your most praiseworthy supplier It wouldn’t be fair to single one supplier out! We always endeavour to work with suppliers who constantly keep surprising us with new ideas and products.


Your approach to staff training Simply be available to them. The biggest change you’ve made in your business lately We recently completed a new 5000ft2 showroom at the Bedeck head office in Magheralin, County Down, along with a new concept flagship store on Lisburn Road in Belfast. The tastes that best reflect your audience We feel our customer appreciates the design and quality of our brands.

Your best-performing product Our relaunched Bedeck of Belfast brand, which is inspired by Belfast’s long linen heritage and comprises a collection of beautifully crafted bed and bath linens.

The technology you’ve introduced most recently Following a lengthy period of research and development, we are about to install a brand-new, company-wide IT system.

Your personal favourite Our Murmur brand, inspired by the Irish landscape, which has the most beautiful (yet understated) design style.

Your number-one selling tip Listen to what the customer actually wants or needs to ensure the products created hit the mark

Gary Irwin

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With growing competition demanding ever-smarter customer engagement, Paul Farley quizzes Joanne John, the new head of marketing at Steinhoff UK Beds (encompassing the Relyon, Slumberland and Dunlopillo brands), on the whys and wherefores of the manufacturer’s digital transformation.


Slumberland Aero Gel Fusion 1600


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I’ve been at Steinhoff since March last year, and have been tasked with transforming what we do digitally, as well as generally moving marketing in the right direction. The bed market is overcrowded and confusing at the best of times – if you don’t keep building your brand, and telling its story, it will collapse. In today’s retail arena, consumers are crying out for relationships with brands, so research – quantitative, qualitative, and shop-alongs – is more important than ever. We like to base our work on facts. When [Steinhoff UK Beds’ sales and marketing director] Paul Little recruited me, I knew that data was a necessity. How could I make recommendations without detailed knowledge? We commissioned our own research in August, which was completed in November. We found that, when prompted, 86% of those quizzed recognised the Slumberland brand – but only 30% did so unprompted. Our key

rivals score much higher, and, in terms of consumer recognition, we want to be up there too. Slumberland was a superbrand in the 1980s – there’s no reason we can’t be again. Our product stable is pretty broad. Within it, Slumberland is mainstream, entry-level to premium price, and focused on comfort. The brand will enhance the quality of the user’s life. A recent Mintel report highlighted that 80% of people believe the right mattress would change their life – so we’re rising to the challenge of making people put their money where their mouth is, and invest in a quality sleep solution. More customer guidance would benefit both consumers and manufacturers in the long run, and help prevent a race to the bottom. The UK bed market is saturated with a huge number of manufacturers (but not so many specialists) – although I’ve worked in markets that are less affluent and less digitally-aware, like South America, where there’s not so much communication with consumers, so the buying decisions are based much more on price. With these new websites, we’re taking the responsibility to own that conversation. Ultimately, our goal is to sell more beds – but we want to break away from that sales role, and become silent advisors, intercepting the consumer when they’re researching, informing them, and helping them choose the bed that’s right for them. Ultimately, it’s about taking our brand to a better place, through improved content and communication, focused on sleep sustainability, health and wellness. Greater brand advocacy and stronger customer reviews eventually lead to

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The brand content on the site targets a specific consumer and demographic, mainly appealing to Millennials with a more light-hearted and abstract view on life. Finding uniqueness in your product is a challenge across the market. The site is optimised for digital marketing, and we’re working with an agency to define our Google strategy. We think PPC will be cost-effective – we don’t want to burn money, but this approach can be very rewarding. Across social, we’re mainly working through Facebook and Instagram, thanks to their re-marketing functionality, and programmatic banner ads. Offline, we’re working closely with The new Slumberland website offers buying and sleep guides, plus sleep tips and insight

Mattresses are divided by type and collection

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Slumberland Natural Luxury 800

repeat purchases. We want to make sure our customers know we care, and create loyalty. Just look at what Apple has achieved – an iPhone user is very unlikely to swap to a Sony or a Samsung, no matter how those other brands try to tempt them.

our physical stockists, who will benefit greatly from the fresh insights our digital work reveals. This isn’t about spending more money, but spending it differently, and more widely, to build our brand. There’s a huge number of bed manufacturers and brands out there, but none of them are talking about anything fundamentally different. True innovation is hard to come by in this category. I used to work at Dyson, where I headed up their trade marketing team in the US, before working across various international territories, building the brand in both established and emerging markets. Success comes from knowing each market’s structure, how it works, and what to deploy within it. James Dyson wanted every pound to work as well as it could – even in places where the company was well established. Every marketing decision required justification, and a visible return on investment. At Steinhoff UK Beds, too, we have big plans, but will spend very carefully. At Dyson, we believed that if you wanted to grow a category, you had to look outwards – and chose to establish a relationship with the end consumer, rather than relying on channels like trade shows alone. Dyson didn’t want third parties to own the conversation. Today, to help our bed stockists succeed, we need to do our bit – and this new website is part of that strategy.

The new Slumberland site is now live. Ideally we’d have launched them all in good time for Black Friday, but it was more important to get things right – and the sites’ improved functionality means they’re a bit more complex at the back end. A year down the line, you can expect to see the sites evolve, with improved user experience, and delivering more consumer insights – for example, what exactly happens to users when they leave the site prior to conversion, or at the point of purchase? This, in turn, will lead to better conversations with retailers. Personally, my biggest frustration with online as a trading channel is a doubleedged sword. I do a great deal of online shopping with the likes of Amazon – sites which facilitate a really simplified buying journey. But there’s a real lack of transparency when it comes to how people trade. Who am I buying from, how is it standardised, and can they be trusted? Then there’s the inconsistencies with deliveries, and how buying experiences differ from shop to site. It could be a lot better. The likes of eBay and the other mass-market furniture etailers are still hanging on the coat-tails of convenience, but they, likes bricks-and-mortar retailers, will have to offer the consumer something uniquely different if they are to survive – convenience alone won’t be enough, they’ll have to offer more

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What’s selling, and where? Each month, Furniture News’ marketing team surveys a sample of our retailer readership to see how product categories are performing from month to month. Here, we look at how January’s trading fared against December’s.








Historically, January might have comfortably outperformed December due its traditional deep furniture sales. However, with the sales period starting earlier each year – and lingering consumer uncertainty, despite the results of December’s General Election – the pattern continues to evolve. Some respondents noted particularly poor December sales, and the initial January sales uptake was varied. One success story in the latter end of the festive period was upholstery (including mobility seating), which saw a dramatic reversal following December’s downbeat performance




UP 29%




24% 47% 26% 29%

22% 36% 26% 42%

45% 34% 26% 21%







27% 37% 26% 37%

20% 41% 26% 39%

31% 41% 26% 28%

31% 33% 26% 36%

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EVENTS Courtesy Messe Frankfurt/Pietro Sutera

FRANKFURT IN FOCUS This year’s Heimtextil was a case of quality over quantity according to organiser Messe Frankfurt, as visitor numbers fell despite improved content …

Courtesy Messe Frankfurt/Thomas Fedra

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With sustainability firmly at top of its agenda, the 50th edition of home and contract textiles show Heimtextil, which took place in January, saw 2952 exhibitors and a rich content programme attract some 63,000 visitors (down from 67,216 in 2019 due to “the unusually early date”, states organiser Messe Frankfurt).

“The industry is currently facing huge challenges,” says Detlef Braun, CEO of Messe Frankfurt. “And some of those taking part at Heimtextil have really felt this. However, exhibitor satisfaction has remained at the same high levels as last year. And visitor satisfaction has even increased from 93-95%. “In addition to the early date, the reasons behind the reduced visitor numbers are mainly down to strong consolidation of specialist shops and developments in the stationary retail trade in the direction of ecommerce. The trend has also experienced an economic slowdown. This is in line with the fact that as many as 34% of our exhibitors rate the current economic situation in the sector as ‘poor’, compared with just 18% the year before.” Peter Gumbel, general manager of bedding supplier Aro Artlaender, comments: “All the customers we expected to be there were there. Although the German specialist trade was somewhat lacking as far as exports

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the Sustainable Development Goals in collaboration with Messe Frankfurt’s Texpertise Network and the Conscious Fashion Campaign,” says Lucie Brigham, chief of office at UNOP and guest of honour at Heimtextil’s opening press conference. Heimtextil also focused on furnishing hotels and public buildings, with around 370 companies specialising in contract business, while the Sleep! The Future Forum, which discussed all aspects of sleep and product innovation in the fields of sleeping systems, bedding and bedlinen, enjoyed an even warmer reception. Next year’s Heimtextil will take place from 12-15th January

Courtesy Messe Frankfurt/Jochen Günther

Courtesy Messe Frankfurt/Jean-Luc Valentin

Courtesy Messe Frankfurt/Pietro Sutera

are concerned, it was a very good fair. Compared to 15 years ago, buyer delegations have certainly become a little smaller, but the decisionmakers are still at Heimtextil – they may spend a little less time here, but they have very concrete plans.” The anniversary edition of Heimtextil offered the richest event programme in the show’s history, with over 150 lectures and panel discussions, 30 guided tours of the fair and numerous other events, plus the popular Trend Space. For the first time, the United Nations Office for Partnerships presented the worldwide Sustainable Development Goals at the exhibition. “Heimtextil was the next step on our tour to present

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FABRIC FIXTURE From light cottons to heavy jacquards, this year’s BFM Fabric Show London will present the trade with fabrics from over 35 UK and international exhibitors when it returns to Chelsea FC Stamford Bridge, Fulham on Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th February.

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Open to both members and nonmembers of the BFM (British Furniture Manufacturers Association), the show provides an exclusive opportunity for UK furniture manufacturers to explore an extensive choice of fabrics from expert mills and suppliers which have hundreds of years’ collective experience. As well as natural fabrics like wools, linens and velvets, on show will be high-grade synthetic weaves including polyesters, rayon and faux furs and leathers. Ever-developing fabric technologies – anti-stain, anti-odour, fire retardant and water resistants which extend the practicality and longevity of fabrics – will also be on show, from producers including Aqua Clean and Warwick. Eleven Belgian producers, including new exhibitor Verbatex, will show their latest designs. Many of them – including Annabel, Beaulieu, Greenstreet, Molveta, Ter Molst International, Van Neder and Symphony Mills – have long-established relationships with UK upholstery manufacturers. Other new exhibitors include Audejas from Lithuania and Aurim Home Décor from Italy, Edinburgh Weavers from Scotland and Morgan Fabrics

Corporation from the US. Each bring their own unique designs and extend the breadth of choice for buyers, including fabrics for domestic, contract and interior design projects. Turkey has a strong tradition of luxury fabric production, and is represented by nine companies, each with substantial expertise. Adoksan, Aydin Tekstil, Marsteks, Teksium and Yakar are some of the returning Turkish exhibitors, promising new designs and colourways in everything from muted plains to vibrant florals and colourful checks. The UK also has a long history of fabric and textile manufacture, and companies including Acquitane, British Velvets, Mobus, Warwick and Woven Art will join the line-up, all returning with new designs and textures. BFM MD Nick Garratt comments: “We have a full complement of exhibitors and we are delighted that the list includes five new exhibitors from around the world, making this a truly international event. The extent of the quality and variety of fabrics that will be on show is second to none, and the flair and creative energy demonstrated by our exhibitors will be a treat for our visiting buyers”

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19th & 20th February 2020

The Exclusive UK Fabric Trade Show Housing the world’s premier fabric suppliers under one intimate roof.

Opening Times 9.30am - 6.00pm on Wednesday 9.00am - 4.00pm on Thursday

Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, SW6 1HS

For more information and to register your attendance please visit Pages.indd 23 Full page USE.indd 1

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BRAND NEW BOYTEKS Weavers, which will be present at the BFM Fabric Show London this month, may be a new brand in the upholstery fabric industry, but its roots are strong …

Boyteks was established 20 years ago to fulfil the mattress ticking requirements of the brands within Turkey’s Erciyes Anadolu Holding. With its customers’ support, Boyteks has since demonstrated substantial growth, and is now an integrated business, with facilities manufacturing upholstery fabric, warp knitting and carpets – each of which are considered world-leading brands in their respective segments. Boyteks’ blend of manufacturing quality, price policy, product variety, range and fast services has not only paved the way for innovation and fresh design, but has enabled the group to

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add value to the sector alongside its business partners, building a plethora of strong brands. Aware of the need to stay at the cutting edge of the ever-growing upholstery sector, and with the support of the group’s robust financial structure, Boyteks Upholstery has been working hard to develop a new brand identity – Weavers. Having completed this journey, Weavers is now looking to reinforce its global position as a leading manufacturer and supplier of upholstery textiles – and welcomes visitors to Stamford Bridge this month to see its latest product offer for themselves

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V A L U E ,




Designed with modern and starter homes in mind with proportions that fit and clean simple styling; Essentials by Kettle Interiors is perfect for both online and in-store promotional offers. Essentials by Kettle Interiors delivers an unrivalled combination of value, choice and commercial-focused design.





Order in the UK from Kettle Interiors 01536 444960


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Order in Ireland from Decor Furniture 028 3844 6000



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POLAND’S EARLY BIRD Meble Polska, the largest furniturebuying platform in Central and Eastern Europe, will return to Poznañ, Poland from 25-28th February.

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Taking place earlier than usual due to the fair’s growing importance on the global stage (the change will enable buyers to visit both Poland and the Far East events), Meble Polska is attended by buyers from nearly 70 countries – including delegates from the Polish retail network, representatives of some of Europe’s largest buying groups and multiples, plus distributors and online traders from other continents.

This month, the number of visitors is expected to be especially high. “We already have confirmation that, thanks to the change of date, the highestranking furniture buyers, who did not have the opportunity to participate in our fair, will come to Poznañ for shopping,” says the show’s director, Józef Szyszka. Organiser Grupa MTP expects more than 20,000 visitors to attend the 2020 event. A portion of the exhibition will be accessible only to those buyers with the largest budgets, and these VIP buyers will also enjoy other hospitality benefits. Meble Polska is the world’s largest showcase of the Polish furniture industry’s capabilities. As usual, it is accompanied by the Home Decor Fair and the Arena Design event, which will present some of the best in Polish design. In all, some 500 companies and brands will present their goods across 11 halls. This edition promises a particularly strong exhibitor line-up, offering a wealth of cabinet furniture (in both panelboard and solid wood), upholstery and mattresses, principally from Eastern Europe

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Our tried and trusted formula, sees Kettle Interiors collections continue to bring quality and style perfect for family homes. With broad appeal and excellent build quality, Kettle Interiors ranges are ideal for creating beautiful shop floor displays.



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MADE IN CHINA The 45th CIFF (Guangzhou) – taking place across two phases at Canton Fair Complex, China (18th-21st and 28th-31st March, pending any change in response to the coronavirus), again promises to be one of the world’s largest furniture exhibitions, and a vital business platform for doing business with, and within China and its neighbouring markets.

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As usual, the phases will be organised by product sector: the first dedicated to home furniture, decor and textiles, plus outdoor and leisure furniture; and the second covering office, commercial and hotel furniture, plus furniture machinery, components and raw materials. This edition will see a fresh emphasis on goods designed and made in China, with further biennial developments scheduled for 2021, 2023 and 2025. The

first step will see the construction of a 50,000m2 space dedicated to original Chinese home furniture design, and the designation of a pavilion in the Office Show devoted to the latest trends. In addition, more space will be reserved for international brands. A team of curators – comprising Wen Hao, Hou Zhengguang, Song Tao and Frank Chou – will identify companies making significant investment in design and creativity

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Signature by Kettle Interiors is our exciting new brand for 2020. Bringing style-led, statement pieces paired with exceptional build quality and finishing touches, Signature lets style take the lead. Create stunning shop floor displays that will stop customers in their tracks.







Order in the UK from Kettle Interiors 01536 444960


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Order in Ireland from Decor Furniture 028 3844 6000



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British manufacturer Cintique has increased its offer with a new collection designed for those wishing to complement stylish, modern living environments.

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The new range took several months to develop ahead of its 2020 launch, and Cintique is pleased with stockists’ response to date. Indeed, industry and customer feedback heavily influenced the design and sit of each piece, ensuring the final product is suitable for its intended market and that the choices presented accommodate individual tastes. The range was created at Cintique’s Nottinghamshire site, which encourages waste reduction and uses clean energy as its main power source. Cintique now benefits from modern technology, enabling new designs to be more

rapidly production-ready for market, plus shorter delivery lead times for customers. Additional benefits include the premium standard of work from Cintique’s skilled upholsterers, and the clever inclusion of traditional methods used to create the quality of show-wood furniture expected from the brand. Each piece of Cintique furniture – from both the current range and the new 2020 line – come with a reassuring lifetime frame-and-spring guarantee. All furniture is manufactured to order and is available in a choice of fabrics, and selected models can be dispatched to stores within just four weeks. MD Wayne Hollis has worked in the upholstery industry for over 30 years, and is keen to introduce new design development technologies to move the Cintique brand forward, while maintaining the tradition of Britishmanufactured show-wood furniture without compromising on design or quality

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sitting is believing Common Road, Huthwaite, Nottinghamshire, NG17 2JY

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01623 444896

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MIXED MEDIA What’s hot, and what’s not? In the latest edition of Connect – The Furniture Trade Directory, Furniture News investigates the industry’s product selection and development process, and the trends dominating the market. In this excerpt, Paul Farley looks at diversification in the cabinet sector …

Aztek two-drawer console table, Gallery Direct

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It seems that natural wooden finishes will always have their place, but in the wake of the oak boom, new materials are fast finding their way into the UK cabinet sector, driven by consumer demand for something different, more eclectic looks and fresh tactile experiences which complement natural wooden components. Evoking industrial style and a touch of luxury, marble and concrete surfaces have been on the rise for some time, while darker species of wood such as walnut are becoming more commonplace, together with metallic touches.

Kelly Oliver, head of buying at Harveys, says: “Cabinet materials and finishes are changing fast. I think we will see more new exciting substrates coming through, the mixing of metal with marble or glass, and new colourways within the mainstream market.” Contemporary cabinet furniture designer Rob Scarlett, owner of Rob Scarlett Furniture & Print, adds: “There will be brass everywhere. It’s been coming for a while, but when you start to see even the mid-level suppliers doing it, you know it’s going to be big. “I’m seeing plenty of mid-century glamour, and – although it’s not an independent product yet – patterned cabinet. I think everyone’s starting to get bored of the industrial look, so it’s been pared back a bit. I’ve also noticed the growing use of sheesham by the big nationals – not completely divorced from what’s happening in the US market.” Last March, John Lewis & Partners published a report entitled ‘The things we do in our living rooms’, which highlighted the performance of several mixed media bestsellers: sales of its Soren nest of tables, in marble, wood and brass, were up +400% YoY; and sales of contemporary bookcases (those combining wood and metal, for instance) were up +30%. John Lewis also pointed towards consumers embracing darker wood options, with walnut outselling oak by +25% in its Grayson range.



CM, Fortune Woods

Bretton, Timber Art Design UK

Marble glass rose gold coffee table, Native Home & Lifestyle

Casablanca, LPD

Meanwhile, Symmetry CGI’s Paul Galley, an established cabinet furniture designer, created a special report that charted the material trends running through the major national’s lines. His team noticed: more marble, and the use of concrete in more styles of furniture; the use of metal for more than just industrial lines (including metal inlays and leather panels with metal trims); asymmetry with mixed materials and geometric shapes, and details in contrasting materials rather than full panels; and more textured patterns, black finishes, and reclaimed wood. Similarly, the Homewings Interiors

Trends Report recorded growth in mid-century lines, marble and metallic accents, stating: “Our designers predict that micro colour blocking and newwave mid-century furnishings are going to be ever-more popular on the high street. “Metallic accents are here to stay. However, we will be waving goodbye to rose gold and copper as brass and gold finishes become the metals of choice.” A quick glance around the latest trade exhibitions only reinforces that diversification is gaining ground, as consumer demand for individuality in the home continues to wax.

The Furniture Trade Directory SE COND EDITIO N

For more trend guidance, Connect – The Furniture Trade Directory is free for Furniture News subscribers – see the sidebar on p3, or visit INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS

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Laurent Peacock’s


Laurent’s artful sideboard, which employs peppercorns and bio-resin to achieve a shagreen surface effect, was highly commended in last year’s Furniture Makers’ Company Design Awards.

“ The semi-abstract pattern on the doors and drawer fronts is a surface I’ve developed over the last few years using layers of whole peppercorns and bio-resin”

“ The surface catches people by surprise, as they often expect it to be textured, not smooth and tactile. Many say it looks like shagreen – a material I’ve long liked the look of, but not the idea of (no rays were harmed in the making of these surfaces!)”

“ The cabinetry itself is crafted from European oak and fumed oak, with laminated brass handles and fine brass detailing”

“ I like my cabinets to function on multiple levels, so there are open-ended sections at either side to allow for display of beautiful books, ornaments or other items of pride and joy. An easy-access large central drawer is flanked by pivot-hinged doors, providing useful cupboard space, while two discrete internal drawers are tucked in behind”

“ The surface is fully sealed when finished – so no peppery aroma lingers, but during production the smell fills my whole workshop”

I HAVE A FASCINATION WITH MATERIALS, PATTERN AND TEXTURE TRAINING Back in 2001, Laurent studied 3D Industrial Design at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design. Some time later, in 2017, he completed a course in Fine Furniture Making at Robinson House Studio, where he worked under designer Marc Fish, before setting up his own business, making fine contemporary furniture. Laurent now works on a mixture of private commissions and pieces for exhibition, with a sideline in surface design geared towards interior designers, property developers and architects.

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ACHIEVEMENTS In 2017, Laurent’s Sika console table was awarded The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Bespoke Guild Mark #465. In 2018 his Piper surfaces won the Shillingford Dulux Colour in Design Award, while Sika was highly commended in The Furniture Makers’ Company Design Award. His Piper X credenza was highly commended by The Furniture Makers’ Company in last year’s awards.

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#371 February 2020


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HO, Signature by Kettle Interiors Pages.indd 36

HO Bedroom, Signature by Kettle Interiors


Easy to understand, Kettle’s new inhouse brands help retailers deliver high value at key price points without compromising on choice. Whether it is a painted bedroom suite for a starter home, an affordable oak dining set for a growing family, or a premium parquet oak industrial-style sideboard set for a mature professional couple, retailers can enjoy the security and ease of working with a single supplier. Even better, Kettle Interiors supplies its exclusive ranges from UK stockholdings in excess of £5m, and with a proven and reliable wholesale, regular order and container supply model. “The launch of Signature by Kettle Interiors at this year’s show completes the picture on our approach to delivering homeowners excellent value right across the spectrum,” explains sales director, Simon Ainge. “Whether starting out in their first home with Essentials by Kettle Interiors, enjoying family life with Kettle Interiors or looking for something a little extra special in Signature by Kettle Interiors, we bring furniture for every stage of life.

IB Bedroom, Signature by Kettle Interiors

With the launch of Signature by Kettle Interiors at last month’s January Furniture Show, alongside the continued expansion of Essentials by Kettle Interiors and the mainstay Kettle Interiors brand, the scope of the supplier’s new approach is now clear …

And with a service level that’s sure to prove flexible enough for any retailer, we’re ready to make sure that everyone can benefit from our new approach.” Under the new Signature by Kettle Interiors brand, which holds the supplier’s trend-led, premium-crafted constructions, homeowners can now enjoy a selection of styles, including the classic painted style of MN and the industrial-style IB, now available in IB Bedroom. Kettle Interiors also used the exhibition to launch HO and HO Bedroom, a country-style range with a radiant, warm oak finish and rounded corners. From the thick oak tops and solid proportions to the smooth-gliding soft-close drawers, impressive quality runs through every detail of this range, states Kettle.

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READ MORE AT WWW.FURNITURENEWS.NET 37 GA Bedroom, Essentials by Kettle Interiors

IA Bedroom, Kettle Interiors Pages.indd 37

GA, Essentials by Kettle Interiors

Within its Kettle Interiors stable, the supplier has continued to build on the success of the industrial IA, introducing IA Bedroom. With a characterful grain and light oak finish, teamed with boxy lines and metal hairpin legs, IA Bedroom is a head-turning, industrialstyle dining and occasional furniture range with wide appeal. Featuring slender, bar-style metal handles, softclose drawers and metal runners, it is packed with quality details to match its stylish looks. Under the impressive value of the Essentials by Kettle Interiors brand – which is suitable for in-store promotions, online retailing or, simply, highly competitive everyday collections – Kettle has launched IE, bringing one of the hottest looks of the moment through its industrial-style metal frames, adding on-trend, light oak panels for today’s style-conscious consumers. This high-value dining and occasional range comes in a range of practical items, proportioned for apartments and modern homes. Kettle also launched GA and GA Bedroom, a painted version of the existing GAO. With the original collection proving so successful thanks to its versatile style, GA has a painted finish, adding rounded corners with bevel detailing to tops and tapered legs, as well as brushed metal handles. Underlining that style does not have to cost the earth, GA’s value and price

makes the collection a natural choice for retailers keen to lead the charge on promotions, window displays and instore incentives, states the supplier. “With the launch of Signature by Kettle Interiors as well as the unveiling of several new ranges, 2020 is a defining year for us and we’re confident that we’re ready to really take the new decade on through great ranges ready to transform the homes of customers and the sales of retailers,” says Simon. “We hope that retailers yet to experience the benefits of partnering with Kettle Interiors will find the range too hard to resist and come on board. Our furniture and service will not disappoint – so they can take on the ’20s with style”

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LOUIS DE POORTERE This year’s Domotex saw the unveiling of Louis de Poortere’s art-inspired rugs. The Gallery Collection is influenced by modernist artists and the vivid palettes they bring to interiors. Within it, Dora takes the influence of Pablo’s brushstrokes and is available in three sizes, while Graffita takes its direction from urban arts and graffiti styles. Both are constructed using 100% cotton, woven into a jacquard flatweave.

KETTLE INTERIORS Kettle Interiors has launched its Signature by Kettle Interiors brand of premium-crafted furniture, with the stylish HO among the first new ranges on offer. With a radiant, warm oak finish and rounded corners, HO brings a simple and elegant traditional style that promises to complement any interior. Available for dining and bedroom, impressive quality runs through every detail of this range – from the thick oak tops and solid proportions to the smooth-gliding, soft-close drawers.


110 - Slat Side (& High Back) Chair

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M&P Chairs 340.indd 1

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WIEMANN UK Glasgow, from award-winning German bedroom manufacturer Wiemann, meets consumer demand for a wide choice of storage options and door configurations while still delivering an on-trend look. Launched at the January Furniture Show, the range features a new finish (matt glass), plus smart contrasting handles and trims. Shortlisted for The Furniture Awards 2020, Glasgow features hinged, sliding and combiwardrobe options plus corner units and smart beds, to help maximise storage.

Simon Hewitt, MD of Wiemann’s UK agent Litmus Furniture, says: “Glasgow’s wide choice of bedroom furniture pieces means it’s extremely flexible, suiting a range of storage and space requirements.”

DORMEO Dormeo’s new Octasmart Hybrid Mattress Collection combines multiaward-winning smart Octaspring technology, individual pocket springs and the comfort of memory foam. The Octaspring technology at the collection’s core provides a difference that cannot be found anywhere else, offering a unique breathable structure plus smart body zones that create optimal support for the head, shoulders and hips. Combined with a layer of individual pocket springs, the mattress responds to the body, keeping the sleeper fully supported while providing a more traditional responsive feel.

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New Collection 2020

New Hybrid Collection successfully launched at the January Furniture Show

Upgrade to the next level of comfort with the Octasmart® Hybrid Collection Octaspring® technology at the core provides the difference that can’t be found anywhere else. Not only does its unique structure make this mattress actually breathe, the smart body zones create optimal support to your head, shoulders and hips. Combined with a layer of individual pocket springs, the mattress responds intelligently to your body keeping you supported whilst providing a more traditional responsive feel.

Octaspring® technology

Pocket springs

It literally breathes

Smart zoning

Designed for couples

Hundreds of individual Octasprings move 3-dimensionally to support and cradle every inch of your body helping to alleviate pressure from the back, hips & shoulders.

Each 8cm tall pocket spring works effortlessly combined with the Octaspring® technology to support your body and provide a more traditional, responsive feel.

Our patented Octavent™ Air System makes your mattress 8 times more breathable than regular foam, and cooler by 3°C, helping you get to sleep faster and sleep deeper, for longer.

Different firmness Octaspring® springs are arranged in 3 body zones to provide customised support for your back, with extra support for your hips and shoulders allowing for more natural spine alignment.

The individual support of Octaspring® technology makes it almost impossible to feel your partner getting in and out of bed. This mattress really is designed with couples in mind for a peaceful, undisturbed sleep.

18 18 year warranty

fits all UK bed types


kind for you

Free from harmful chemicals



For more information on introducing the Dormeo Octasmart® range to your floor display or to book an appointment, please contact:

David Green, National Sales Manager 01494 899 935 *Which? Award presented to Octasmart® Deluxe Mattress Pages.indd 41 Full page USE.indd 1

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THE VIRTUAL WORKS Through his business, designer Paul Stott, who has worked with John Lewis, BHS, House of Fraser, ScS, Bensons, Harveys and Furniture Village over the last 30 years, now specialises in CGI solutions for the furniture industry. “I use my knowledge of furniture and interior design to produce incredibly lifelike images from design drawings so marketing departments can have the pictures they need for brochures and PR in good time, regardless of whether the product itself is ready to be photographed in the flesh,” he says. Paul uses the latest software to build and render everything from individual bespoke designs to complete roomsets. He says: “Thanks to my background and experience in furniture design I implicitly understand dimensions, proportions and technical aspects, which affect how a piece will look in a room.”

Lebus’ Athena includes SpringBond

LECTRA Lectra has launched the latest version of Versalis Offline, a new digital leather-cutting solution for furniture manufacturers. Designed to maximise the efficiency of the entire production cycle, Versalis Offline enables manufacturers to optimise the cutting process while improving productivity, nesting efficiency and ergonomics.

SPRINGBOND A unique material manufactured from recycled PET plastic bottles and other single-use plastics, which initially launched as an eco-engineered underlay, is now being used in sofas. SpringBond, manufactured by Texfelt in Bradford, is employed in more than 80% of Lebus’ sofas and recliners. Texfelt MD James Taylor says: “While the world works out how to reduce its plastic consumption, we have found new ways of upcycling some of the waste – first as a luxury carpet underlay and now as a material to give comfort and support in sofas.” The material is fully recyclable at the end of its usable life, and contains no harmful VOCs.

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Central Furniture Manufacturing Ltd For a Full Colour Brochure please call 0121 766 8110

Newport Range Gloss grey

Mulliner Works, 154 Bordesley Green Road, Birmingham, B8 1BY Tel Fax Email Web

: : : :

0121 766 8110 0121 766 7450

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Central Furniture Manufacturing Ltd For a Full Colour Brochure please call 0121 766 8110

Newport Range White

Mulliner Works, 154 Bordesley Green Road, Birmingham, B8 1BY Tel Fax Email Web

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: : : :

0121 766 8110 0121 766 7450

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ANALYSING EUROPE’S ONLINE BUYING EXPERIENCE At a time when ecommerce sales make up nearly a fifth of total retail sales, with an annual growth rate of +15%, retailers can’t afford to have a sub-par website, states Cylindo’s Biljana Vidojevic, who presents the results of an investigation of the online capabilities of Europe’s top furniture retailers.



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Even traditional industries like furniture are finally waking up to the new reality – online presence matters. Today, the furniture purchase journey starts online for more than 70% of consumers, and worldwide online sales are expected to grow at an average annual rate of +11.9% between 2018-22, resulting in a market volume of $294b in 2022. As customer expectation for the ideal online shopping experience increases, ecommerce furniture merchandising becomes increasingly important. Betting on reinventing the online furniturebuying journey and incorporating a highly digital footprint pays dividends across multiple parameters. It helps retain customers and grow their lifetime value while acquiring new ones, which is critical in any over-retailed market. But how much attention must European furniture retailers pay to their digital merchandising and online shopping experience? We’ve analysed the websites of 100 top retailers, looking at 10 features including zoom, 360° views, room scenes, customisation, page load speed, mobile optimisation, augmented reality (AR), video, recommendations, and reviews. Our research included some of the largest furniture retailers in the UK and the rest of Europe (determined by most significant forecast annual revenue, sizeable product catalogue, and physical store footprint). Here are some of our findings … Online presence matters The companies that have more than five ecommerce merchandising features on their websites are leading the way in digital merchandising and user

experience (UX). Of the top 100 European retailers, 67% have five or more. The global village It’s interesting to note that there aren’t huge differences between the findings in our Europe and US reports (the latter was conducted in February 2019). Most of the features have a similar adoption rate among retailers. There is a slight difference in the zoom feature, which is more widely adopted in the US (83%) than in Europe (68%). On the other hand, product customisation is adopted by 67 of the top 100 European retailers, compared with just 42% of their US counterparts. Investment is not aligned with customer preferences Only 13% of retailers have 360° product configurators on their websites, leaving the vast majority without this feature. In a world where digital plays a vital role in furniture sales, 360° views are becoming a minimum requirement for a good online UX. Web-native AR is redefining furniture shopping Only 22% of the top European retailers have implemented an AR solution. However, the high user adoption rate of web-native AR is a clear sign that this frictionless solution will change the way people shop for furniture in the near future. Mobile browsing is the new normal According to our research, all the top European furniture retailers have mobile-optimised websites. The balance between speed and UX

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47 Visitors love content-rich sites, but they will not waste their time if your page is slow. For the best results, find the right balance between the two. Context and recommendations are important to sales Room scenes, recommendations and mobile optimisation are the three most widely adopted features among the top European retailers, and this is true for the US as well. This isn’t too surprising when one considers that furniture is a big-ticket item and customers need more time to make the final decision – context and recommendations from other buyers are always helpful. ANALYSING RETAILERS’ ECOMMERCE MERCHANDISING FEATURES In industries like furniture, where product aesthetics and details have a major influence on the customer’s purchasing decision, you have to take care of your web presence, as it’s often the first touchpoint made with your company. Zoom Customers want to inspect details like material and texture. When they can’t interact with the images on product pages, they don’t feel comfortable buying, and they often decide to leave the website and search for another product. Even though too much zoom can put the product out of perspective, in the furnishing industry zooming extremely closely will help show the texture. However, despite the fact that this is one of the most important features for furniture merchandising, only 68 of the top European retailers have zoom features on their product pages, and only 20 have the zoom option in fullscreen mode. When it comes to the type of zoom, 39 have a zoom on hover, and 29 have a click-to-zoom option.

your conversions. Thanks to advanced technologies, this differentiating tool can boost satisfaction and loyalty while enabling the scalable masscustomisation of home furnishings. An interesting finding is that 67 of Europe’s top 100 have a configurator for product customisation on their website, compared to only 42 of the US retailers from our previous report. This feature is especially important for retailers that offer a lot of product variations. Bearing in mind customer expectations, retailers have to prioritise customisation if they want to increase engagement in both online and digitally influenced sales. 360° views When it comes to the online furniture purchase journey, an outstanding visual experience is the best way to compensate for the lack of tactile sense. Shoppers want a 360° view of anything they’re going to buy, and images undoubtedly tell more of a story than product descriptions ever could. Google’s metrics have shown that consumers interact four times longer with 360° spin than conventional product photos alone. Studies have also shown that 360° views reduce return rates, because customers can get a better view of the product they’re purchasing. One of the most significant discrepancies between consumer

expectation and retailer investment is the implementation of 360° views on product pages. Only 13% of the retailers we’ve analysed have 360° product configurators on their website – the same proportion as in the US top 100. It’s no surprise that most of the companies that have 360° product configurators on their websites are D2C because, in most cases, these are digital-native companies that understand the importance of online presence. Today, when digital already drives more than a third of online retail sales – and further influences a high percentage of in-store sales – having 360° views becomes a minimum requirement for a pleasant online UX. Room scenes It’s much easier to sell products when you show them being used. According to BigCommerce, 78% of online shoppers want products to be brought to life with images. No matter if it’s jewellery, a purse, sofa or car, context gives shape and meaning, which helps assuage shoppers’ fears about usage, aesthetics and size. Combining elements to create an in-context photo will help you convey a certain quality, tone or mood that will influence the viewer’s perception of your product, ultimately leading to a higher conversion rate.

Product customisation Today, technology makes it easier to enable product customisation, and to offer a personalised experience to customers straight from your product pages. Giving consumers the ability to combine colours, fabrics, finishes and other details in a few clicks with a simple product configurator can enhance their experience and increase

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This is one of the top three most widely adopted features – 90% of the furniture retailers analysed have room scenes on their product pages, and this is one of the best-adopted features among US retailers, too, with 93 of the top 100 using room scenes to enrich the product page experience. Augmented reality (AR) What was once only hype is now slowly becoming a reality. According to Gartner, by 2020 a whopping 100 million consumers will shop using AR online and in-store. This is yet another confirmation that AR has huge potential to disrupt the way people shop. Soon AR will become an inevitable part of a buyer’s path to purchase, especially in the furniture industry. However, when it comes to AR adoption, one of the biggest challenges is the usage of mobile apps – so how can AR go mainstream? With web-native AR, consumers can visualise products without leaving your website, paving the way for more conversions. App-less AR has proven to provide adoption rates that are 33 times higher than traditional AR mobile applications, thanks to the reduced friction. In the future, as we see increased usage of AR in everyday life, the ability to access AR instantly without the need to install an app will become vital. For now, even though AR is one of the hottest topics in the furniture industry, only 22% of the top European retailers have implemented an AR solution – slightly higher than the 16% of US retailers. It will be interesting to see how web-native AR solutions change the furniture landscape, as it’s far more straightforward and user-friendly for consumers, and doesn’t require them to download an app. Video Videos are fun to watch, easy to consume, and, most importantly in the case of product videos, prompt more purchases. According to HubSpot, 73% of customers are more likely to purchase after watching an online video that explains the product or service, and more than half of shoppers say that online video has helped them decide which specific brand or product to buy, so it’s clear that having high-quality videos creates trust and empowers people to take action.

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WITH WEB-NATIVE AR, CONSUMERS CAN VISUALISE PRODUCTS WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR WEBSITE This popular type of content is still not widely adopted among the top European furniture retailers – only 26 of them have videos for some of their products. This is slightly higher than their US counterparts (24/100), but with all the statistics in mind, we expect to see an increase soon. Reviews Product ratings and reviews have become significant purchase decision factors. Would you buy a product with

a low product rating and negative reviews? Probably not. Data from Spiegel Research Center shows that nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase. When it comes to big-ticket purchases like furniture, product reviews are even more important. According to eMarketer, when researching an expensive item online, online ratings and reviews are the most common source respondents consulted – moreso than word-of-mouth, in-store

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INFORMING INDUSTRY, BUILDING BUSINESS 49 sales associates, or social networks. Our research shows that 41 of the top European retailers have reviews on their product pages, which means more than half of them don’t allow customers to share feedback. The US retailers perform better in this category – 56% of them have product reviews. Product recommendations New Epsilon research shows that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer a personalised experience, and 90% indicate that they find personalisation appealing. One of the most basic forms of personalisation is product recommendation. Consumers love recommendations, and it also increases the conversion rate. Research from Salesforce shows that shoppers that clicked on recommendations are fourand-a-half times more likely to add these items to their cart, and also fourand-a-half more likely to complete the purchase. They also spend more time on the site – 12.9 minutes, compared to only 2.9 minutes for those who didn’t click on recommendations. As in our Top 100 US Furniture Retailers Report, recommendations are one of the top three most widely adopted features – 89% of the European retailers analysed have some sort of

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recommendation on their product pages. Most are about related products from the same collections, but a few companies have advanced recommendation engines for a more personalised experience. Mobile optimisation From browsing and research to comparison and purchase, mobile is integral to the way consumers shop nowadays. This is why mobile optimisation is a must for every furniture retailer, no matter if they are traditional or digital-first. Back in 2016, Google confirmed that more than 50% of all web traffic was coming from smartphones and tablets, so it’s no surprise that they have shifted indexing from desktop to mobile-first. What’s more, mobile is not only important for online shopping. A consumer shopping study from BRPWindstream Enterprise shows that mobile is leveraged in almost half of all in-store shopping experiences. Of the 46% of consumers that use their mobile device in-store, 83% compare prices, 78% look at reviews, and 76% check local store inventory. When mobile retail experiences are frictionless, consumers are more likely to go a step beyond research and actually buy on their device. It’s no surprise that every company

in our top 100 has an optimised mobile website. If we look at the US top 100, of which 98% have optimised sites, we can see that having this feature is a must for our mobile-first world. Page load speed Visitors love content-rich sites, but they will not waste their time if your page is slow. No matter how good the design of your website, how attractive your products or competitive your prices are, if your page is slow, you’re going to lose visitors. According to Google, a one-second delay in load time can impact conversion rates by up to -20%. To measure the page load speed and web performance of the top 100 European retailers, we used Web Page Test – and 73 of these retailers have a load speed below 10 seconds. Having a fast site is a minimum requirement in the ecommerce game. However, retailers adopting more digital merchandising features will not only attract more customers, but will win more significant market share by creating a trustworthy and enjoyable shopping experience – so always bear in mind the importance of balancing speed and quality. Visit our website to read our full report – featuring an action checklist, benchmarks, and best-in-class industry players by feature

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BY GAVIN BODEN www.rhenus-home-delivery.

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I’ve been in the industry since I left school, which is about a million years ago (well, it feels like it). Is it me, or are there now far more industry exhibitions in the UK than ever before? There’s Top Drawer, January Furniture Show, AIS Furniture Show, North Point, Spring Fair, London Fabric Show, Irish Interiors, South West Bed Show, AIS’ Bed Show, Spring Long Point, Pulse, Minerva’s show, London Design Week, The Linens Show, AIS (again!), New Designers, SOLEX, Home and Gift, Manchester Furniture Show, the Irish Furniture and Homewares Show, Autumn Fair, Top Drawer (number two), Glee, the South West Furniture Show, London Design Festival, the NBF Bed Show, Autumn Long Point, Minerva’s Autumn Furniture Show, Decorex, Young Furniture Makers, another Linens Show … I’m no mathematician, but that’s more than 30 separate events (I know that not all of them are exclusively about furniture, but if you just count those, there’s 20). Twenty furniture exhibitions! Wow. If a manufacturer wanted to exhibit at 50% of these shows at, let’s say, £20,000 per exhibition, it’s going to cost them a cool £200,000 (and I think that’s an economical estimate). Can you imagine how many orders the manufacturer has to take to make that money back, let alone make a profit? I think this was probably the last straw for Hull bedroom manufacturer Kingstown Furniture, who heavily exhibited at the NEC last year and then in March closed their doors and made 380 people redundant. But let’s talk about this from the retailer’s point of view. If they were to visit just 10 of the shows it would cost them travelling and hotel expenses, plus time out of the business (which they cannot afford to take), and they would feel pressured into ordering something they probably didn’t want. In my opinion, more than 80% of

the serious retail buyers wouldn’t attend more than four shows in the UK because of the cost, and the fact that they’d see the same products over and over again (after all, manufacturers, whether based in the UK or from Europe, cannot keep designing new ranges for every show). We are living in times of austerity and uncertainty – times in which we should be evolving to meet the demands of the world around us. And we’re simply not doing that. This leads me on to exhibition costs. I have a friend in the industry (I know, just the one!) who is also an MD. He had a mediocre-sized stand at a show earlier this year which was really expensive, then he paid extra for lighting (crazy expensive), a sink (about £300), the carpet (which was awful), and somebody to come and check it was all within the exhibition’s guidelines and regulations. Overall, including product, staff, hotels, food, stand build and takedown, transportation costs, marketing and advertising, it cost him over £35,000! While the show was on, the company took orders worth approximately £45,000, and afterwards they pulled in another £10,000. Considering his margins, he actually lost £25,000. But even after all that, he told me that because he has a brand, he has to be there – otherwise customers might think he has financial issues. The answer? I understand that manufacturers must show retailers their products – but might it be more economical for them to buy a purposebuilt showvan and take it round to their customers? If not, perhaps we should have four main shows a year – either regional events, or ones which only offer a certain product category. At the very least, I’d like a group of industry professionals to sit round a table and find a solution to the crazy world of over-exhibiting we’ve fallen into

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At The Helm Join Hydeline’s voyage of discovery BEDROOM / DINING / LIVING IFHS / AUTUMN FAIR / TRADE SERVICES

#367 October 2019

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The International Alliance of Furnishing Publications (IAFP) comprises 19 of the world’s leading industry trade publications. As the IAFP’s UK representative, Furniture News can offer exporters and importers market information, contacts and reach through the most effective B2B channels.

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SECURING A BUSINESS AGAINST CYBER THREATS Whether your business is in furniture manufacturing or retail, it is under threat from cyber attacks.According to Redsquid’s Mike Ianiri, 43% of these are carried out on small businesses – so it pays to be prepared, no matter the size of your enterprise …

Consumers and micro businesses may have some protection from the new agreement the banks are signing up to, but some have yet to commit to the voluntary agreement around payment scams. The message is clear – we all need to do as much as possible to protect ourselves and our businesses. Let’s review what steps you can take in your business: The weak link Unfortunately, it is still the case that the weakest link in any cyber security protection plan is human. In a busy working day, most people simply do what they believe is right at the time. Impersonation emails are one of the biggest cyber threats aimed at small businesses, and most people will respond by doing what it says in the email. Examples of this appear daily. We know of companies losing £100,000 because a supplier, reputedly, emailed them with new bank details. The training need To reduce the threat, training is essential for manufacturing, retail and office staff. By training your team what to look out for, you can help them to help you protect the business. To avoid falling for a scam people should: Check email addresses carefully. The fraudsters use addresses and URLs that are very similar to the legitimate person. Question requests for urgent or large payments. Emails from finance directors requesting an immediate payment is made are a common form of cyber attack.


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Don’t open emails you don’t recognise, or if the email headline is worrying. Cyber criminals want to scare you so you take action. They’ll present fake problems (warning that your website is about to crash, for example) aimed at getting you to

open attachments or click on links designed to infect your machine and your network. Be watchful of new contractors. Some cyber criminals will simply walk into your showroom or office and try to infect your machines. If a visit is unexpected, don’t hesitate to check. Most contractors will be legitimate, but it is better to be safe than sorry. These are just some examples of the threats you face in your business. A good way to check how much your staff have learned from the training is by introducing simulated phishing attacks. Using regular simulations can identify who is following the training or if some need a refresher. We’ve used this at Redsquid, and clickthroughs dropped from 54% to 4% in just three months. Network protection You need a range of network protection measures: 1. Firewalls A robust hardware firewall with intruder prevention capabilities needs to be in place. If your firewall is a few years old, we recommend you update it. Its ability to protect your network needs to be upgraded as the threats to your network will have increased. Sophos is an example of a good provider of such devices. 2. Patching Keep your PCs fully patched. Your operating system provider regularly publishes security updates to protect against the latest cyber threats. By not patching, you run the risk of not being protected. 3. Windows 7 Microsoft stops supporting Windows 7 on 14th January 2020. If you are still running Windows 7 after that date, you are seriously risking your network and your business. You must upgrade

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to Windows 10. If you upgrade your hardware too, you’ll benefit from the physical security and performance enhancements built into new machines. 4. Vulnerability and penetration testing There are many different ways to get into your network and the data it contains. Vulnerability scanning is the intelligence-driven deployment of scanning engines, updated with information from the latest threat intelligence feeds. These help to ensure the security of your systems, services and applications from a number of common attack vectors, exploited by both automated and manual attackers. Vulnerability testing should ideally be done continuously, but at least every month. A penetration test is an authorised simulated cyber attack on a computer system, performed by a suitably qualified third party. It is designed to evaluate and ultimately fortify the security of a target system through the identification of security vulnerabilities. We recommend these are done at least once a year. The investment, in an independent body (not your IT provider), is worth it for the peace of mind it provides. These tests also mean you are properly ticking the GDPR box. You need to be able to show you are protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

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WE KNOW OF COMPANIES LOSING £100,000 BECAUSE A SUPPLIER, REPUTEDLY, EMAILED THEM WITH NEW BANK DETAILS you hold on your customers and staff. If a breach does happen and you cannot prove you have taken reasonable steps, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) can fine you up to 4% of your annual global turnover. 5. Web applications and APIs Most businesses are using multiple web applications and APIs to streamline productivity, but have you checked whether the ones you use have been tested for intruder prevention? They can easily become a back door into your network for cyber criminals. 6. Email gateways Email gateways are a great way to reduce the opportunity for people to make mistakes. By passing all your email through a gateway, you block the malware, phishing and spam emails that threaten your network. 7. Multi-factor authentication Multi-factor authentication (MFA) uses multiple devices to protect your

network. Your phone, which isn’t more than a metre away from you right now, can act as confirmation you are who you say you are when you are logging into your laptop or an application. By using multiple layers of security, you make it harder for unauthorised users to get into your network. Protecting your network is always the first step, but we also recommend you insure your business against cyber threats. Whilst it cannot replace what is stolen, cyber insurance will help you recover. In the event of a ransomware attack, for example, they may consider which is more beneficial – paying the ransom or paying the costs of getting you back running. Some may even pay any ICO fines. As with all insurance, we recommend you take advice on what you should have and you read the small print carefully. Also, remember – if you find yourself caught up in a breach of cyber security, take the necessary steps to comply with GDPR and report the crime

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THE AIR Air pollution is linked with serious conditions affecting sleep, from chronic bronchitis to obstructive sleep apnoea, writes MattressOnline’s Lucy Dodds. So, if sleepless nights shorten life expectancy and increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, how can bedroom air quality be improved?



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If you aren’t sleeping but can’t work out what the problem is, it might be the air quality in your home or the area where you live. We collected data from the Air Quality Index (AQI) to find the best and worst places in the UK to get a good night’s sleep, according to air pollution. The AQI shows daily recordings of pollution in the air, and is calculated by measuring five pollutants: particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10); sulphur dioxide (SO2); carbon monoxide (CO); nitrogen dioxide (NO2); and ozone (O3). Dundee recorded the UK’s worst air pollution score, at more than double the national average. If you live in Dundee and find yourself waking up alot at night, air pollution could be the culprit. The city recorded a huge 137 AQI, which is ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ – older adults, children and those with existing respiratory conditions. It’s also dangerously close to the ‘unhealthy’ category, which can cause the general public to experience adverse effects. Surprisingly, Yorkshire has the unhealthiest air quality (just worse than London). In all, 90% of UK cities have air quality that could pose health risks such as respiratory problems, and Scotland is actually the 13th worst country in the world for air pollution. Conversely, Aylesford, Kent has the cleanest air in the UK. The highest AQI recording in Aylesford was just seven – because air pollution is so low, people living there could be less likely to face respiratory problems in the future, and more likely to get a good night’s sleep. Across the UK, the national average AQI was 64, which is classed as ‘moderate’. This means pollutants can still cause some health concerns, including respiratory symptoms. Research suggests that if you live in an area with poor air quality, you’re +60% more likely to experience low sleep efficiency – which is calculated by dividing the time you spend asleep by the amount of time you spend in bed. Air pollution is also linked with sleepdisordered breathing. Data indicates those with greater exposure to the pollutant PM2.5 (which is measured in the AQI) have an increased risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), a disorder which repeatedly stops your breathing as you sleep. The walls of your throat narrow and block your airways for 10 seconds or more. Severe sleep apnoea can cause this to happen once every minute. If you don’t manage sleep

apnoea, it can increase your risk of having high blood pressure, a stroke or heart attack. Pollutants recorded in the AQI are also linked with chronic respiratory conditions. Research shows the pollutant SO2 can worsen Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a term used for progressive lung disorders like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD causes symptoms like frequent urination at night, coughing and chest pain. The pollutants PM2.5 and NO2 are associated with an increased risk of uncontrolled asthma, which can especially flare up at night. This can cause breathlessness, coughing and wheezing when you’re trying to sleep. In all, the following seven symptoms are associated with air pollution: shortness of breath; dry throat; headache; nausea; coughing; wheezing; and chest pain. To avoid these, here are 10 steps people can take to improve the air quality in their bedroom: Sleep on a chemical-free or natural mattress (these are hypoallergenic) Clean the room with natural products, like lemons or white vinegar Dust regularly to minimise allergy symptoms Avoid spraying aerosols, as they can contain airborne pollutants Add houseplants which remove airborne chemicals, such as peace lilies Reduce humidity – a humidity level of 30-50% will help decrease mould Invest in an air purifier – make sure to avoid one which produces ozone (O3) Wash bedding regularly, as it can hold onto air pollutants Clean the walls with a dry microfibre cloth to remove built-up dust Wipe windowsills daily to prevent condensation and mould And it’s not just air pollution which is stopping us from snoozing. From our partners’ snoring to pets jumping on the bed, there are plenty more night-time interruptions – read more on our blog

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ONE NATION AGAINST IMITATION Anti Copying in Design (ACID) is urging the new Government to proactively protect UK design rights,for the sake of economic growth, writes CEO Dids Macdonald OBE.


the EU without an agreement on the protection of UK unregistered design rights in EU27. Currently there is protection for three years and, as the majority of designers rely on unregistered rights, urgent attention is required. Despite representations and evidence submitted to the Government over the last threeand-a-half years, the current advice is to seek individual legal guidance. This is not good enough, as IP lawyers are unable to give advice, or offer certainty, because this requires negotiation at Government level. UK designers deserve positive action and guidance. By demonstrating the importance of the continued protection of IP which underpins our sector, we can help grow the economy, in businesses and industry across the country. However, this will only happen if there is continued strong protection of IP in EU27. It is vital that this issue is a priority in discussions about trade agreements. I reminded the Prime Minister that in 2014, following a campaign spearheaded by ACID, the intentional infringement of a registered design was made a crime, enshrined in the IP Act. This deterrent has had a significant effect on registered design infringement. I urged him to ensure that unregistered design infringement also has criminal provisions in a post-Brexit period. Lastly, I respectfully requested him to appoint a dedicated Intellectual Property Minister who does not share his or her portfolio with another department. The IP that the UK creates is vital to our economic future, and it is time that this is given the priority it deserves



Whether you were delighted or dismayed by the recent election result, about one thing we can be certain – as one exhausted political sun set, another arose, bringing an end to paralysis on many levels. It feels like breathing a national sigh of relief with renewed energy. One big advantage that IP-rich industries such as the UK furniture and furnishings sector already have, but which can now be reinforced, is our international appeal – an important calling card for a Government to demonstrate our design and manufacturing credentials. So, the need to protect its precious intellectual property (IP) is even more paramount as we explore and forge new markets to ensure that businesses can achieve growth in a more certain climate. With a new raft of politicians having arrived in Westminster, our collective focus must be to connect and shout about our UK design and manufacturing prowess. How good we are, how many jobs our industry sustains and how UK design and manufacture, in all its forms of innovation, contributes significantly to their (and our) lives. The capability and capacity of our sector to innovate creates the valuable IP behind some of the leading names in our industry, and its protection is a key factor in helping grow the economy. Strong protection of IP is vital in discussions in future trade agreements. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, congratulating him on his recent electoral success, I brought to his urgent personal attention a potentially calamitous situation – if the UK leaves

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THIS MONTH, WE’RE ASKING … Steve Pickering (Sussex Beds) Most definitely my wife

Gavin Boden (Rhenus Home Delivery) Joint decision … who am I kidding, the lady of the house!

David Ashton (JYSK) Me James Hudson (Gallery Direct) Mainly me … maybe? My wife is a real fan of what we are doing as a company – with my enthusiasm for our products, I’m always telling her about new developments, so she feels part of it, and so I guess the decisions are joint, really

Who makes the FURNITURE-BUYING DECISIONS in your household?

Mike Murray (Land of Beds) Generally, it’s a joint decision by my wife and I – unless it’s for the kids’ bedrooms/play room, then it’s a family decision

Jerry Cheshire (Surrey Beds) Me. He who pays the piper, calls the tune Clare Taylor (Breasley) Jointly between myself and my husband Paul Galley (Antelope Design/ Symmetry CGI) It’s shared, but I think I carry more weight and give direction Kate Pilling (January/Manchester Furniture Show) Me

#371 February 2020

Rob Scarlett (Scarlett Furniture & Print) Me. I occasionally ask my designer wife for an opinion, but I can be a bit of a tyrant. I do cabinet and she does print and cushions (she’s a print designer)

Tom Bourne (Select First) Me (that’s clearly a lie, it’s definitely my wife). She has a very strong will and loves her interiors, so I’m kidding myself thinking I have any valuable input. Even when she asks for my opinion on a particular purchase, I know my response counts for absolutely nothing. The only thing I have input on is the expense

Simon Ainge (Kettle Interiors) That depends who you ask … Steve Adams (MattressOnline) Living on my own simplifies the debate!

Thomas Small (TCS) Always my wife and I together. But I think if she liked something more than me, she’d have the final say

James Hollas (Bensons for Beds) I find it almost impossible to separate what I find commercial and what I personally like! I do like some products at Bensons more than others, but it is a different kind of ‘like’ – I get excited about furniture and beds, but that doesn’t mean I want to live with them all. Generally, I take lots of advice when it comes to my own home Peter Harding (Fairway Furniture) My wife and me together!



Cintique’s evolving heritage


Direct delivery The Very Group reaches out Cyber security for SMEs Slumberland’s digital development

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